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Is Folk Dead

GUEST,Gibsonboy 16 Oct 12 - 06:32 AM
Will Fly 16 Oct 12 - 06:50 AM
Leadfingers 16 Oct 12 - 06:57 AM
Will Fly 16 Oct 12 - 07:00 AM
John MacKenzie 16 Oct 12 - 07:08 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 16 Oct 12 - 07:27 AM
bubblyrat 16 Oct 12 - 07:35 AM
Richard from Liverpool 16 Oct 12 - 07:49 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Oct 12 - 07:57 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 12 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 12 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 16 Oct 12 - 08:30 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Oct 12 - 08:35 AM
theleveller 16 Oct 12 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,999 16 Oct 12 - 08:55 AM
Vic Smith 16 Oct 12 - 09:50 AM
SteveMansfield 16 Oct 12 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 12 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,mando-player-91 16 Oct 12 - 12:13 PM
Morris-ey 16 Oct 12 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Desi C 16 Oct 12 - 12:35 PM
Ernest 16 Oct 12 - 12:42 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Oct 12 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 16 Oct 12 - 01:01 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Oct 12 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Ron 16 Oct 12 - 02:38 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Oct 12 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,999 16 Oct 12 - 03:20 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Oct 12 - 03:32 PM
Waddon Pete 16 Oct 12 - 03:38 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Oct 12 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,muskrat 16 Oct 12 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach 16 Oct 12 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Oct 12 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 17 Oct 12 - 04:57 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Oct 12 - 05:03 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Oct 12 - 05:13 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Oct 12 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 17 Oct 12 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Pete the Pirate 17 Oct 12 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,matt milt 17 Oct 12 - 06:50 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Oct 12 - 06:55 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Oct 12 - 07:02 AM
Dave Hanson 17 Oct 12 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,Murphy 17 Oct 12 - 07:36 AM
Dave Sutherland 17 Oct 12 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Oct 12 - 09:35 AM
John P 17 Oct 12 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Oct 12 - 10:22 AM
artbrooks 17 Oct 12 - 10:44 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Gibsonboy
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:32 AM

There seems to be a need for Folk to make it appeal as broad as possible in order to survive. You only have to look at the some of the artists appearing at folk festivals, Jools Holland, KT Tunstall, The Proclaimers etc etc, This trend must mean that eventually Folk will cease to exist as a enity. I would argue that this has already happened, evidence, Folk programmes on Radio being axed, Folk Clubs closing down, or at least being run on an ever decreasing budgets, the emergence of "open mic's" probably the new generation of Folk Clubs, pop music being performed albeit in an acoustic way. Folk as we knew it has almost gone, do I care, not really.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:50 AM

You seem to take a 'mass market' view of the music - but environment and form are everything.

As far as 'traditional' music (interpret that as you will) is concerned, I see no sign of its demise down here in Sussex, with several busy ceilidh bands, sessions galore, and singers and musicians delivering the music all over the place - plus several clubs in which traditional music is still sung and played.

I don't take any interest in many "folk" festivals, but the recent Lewes Festival - hugely successful, by the way - didn't have anyone of the ilk of Jools Holland or any of the others you mention. So, my view would be that, at grass roots level, the music is alive and well and healthy - and who cares about what's on the radio or the TV? At the last acoustic session at the Bull in Ditchling, we had around 20 musicians - almost too many for comfort at times - and they were a mix of all ages from old greybeards like me to kids in their teens. And the musical content was 99% traditional tunes with the odd song here and there.

Dead? No - just minding its own business and getting on with it as usual.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:57 AM

This is a 'The Same Old Story' thread ! In 1965 an extra verse was added to the parody 'The Songs They Are A-changing' (1963 ish) with a line - "For Dylan is out and Donovan is in and the death of Folk Music's about to begin" - Over FORTY years ago , and its still not happened !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:00 AM

I forgot to add that, by the end of the last Bull session, most of the punters drinking in the bar - including a punk in a black suit and boots with a bright yellow mohican haircut - were dancing their socks off.

And - as an aside - if you do mean Folk as we knew it has almost gone, do I care, not really, then why bother to post here anyway?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:08 AM

People have been writing the obituary of folk music for tens of years.
Still not dead yet though.

Reports of it's death have been greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:27 AM

As John Maynard Keynes sagely pointed out "In the long run, we are all dead".

Astrophysicists assure us that our sun will eventually become a red giant, and evaporate the earth. Well before that happens, human beings will cease to be interested in what we call "folk", and find other ways to enjoy their leisure time.

But not quite yet, I think. Meanwhile, let's enjoy it while we can.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: bubblyrat
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:35 AM

It's alive and well here in Winchcombe, where a new club / session started up two months ago (at The White Hart) and it's been a great success ; plus we have our own Border Morris side ,"Happenstance" ,with whose band I am priveleged to play ,among such luminaries as folk-lorist Gwyllym Davis ,melodeonist and sometime collector of Gypsy tunes and songs .Plus a monthly trip down to the Coachmakers Arms in Wallingford to play in Bill McKinnon's session is always a great treat .Folk thrives , and life is good !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:49 AM

I think that there's a certain kind of professionalisation of folk music - artists with well polished reworkings of traditional and pseudo-traditional material - that has been on a long decline. Obviously there is an aging population going to folk clubs, there#s a demise of many venues and radio shows, and although there's a new generation of professional performers coming through the Newcastle University course, they're probably going to need to look to other venues.

There's a bigger question, in my mind, of whether any of that was folk to begin with. When I listen to recordings of folk music (which I do VERY rarely, mainly when I'm listening to old tapes my dad has in the car, or when I'm researching different versions of songs) it sometimes seems like a subgenre of pop music more than something like the people singing and playing their own music.

There are still venues for traditional music (I like to hunt out places where I enjoy listening to people play and sing, and to find places where I can sing traditional songs myself), I think it's just becoming more disconnected from the limited commercialisation of folk that we saw in the 60s and 70s. It's becoming smaller, but in spite of that perhaps a little bit closer to what it once was - people of varied talents and abilities enjoying and passing on tunes and songs amongst themselves.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:57 AM

Judge as you find us:

Every Wednesday M21 9EG

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:58 AM

"When I listen to recordings of folk music (which I do VERY rarely, mainly when I'm listening to old tapes my dad has in the car, or when I'm researching different versions of songs) it sometimes seems like a subgenre of pop music more than something like the people singing and playing their own music."

yep, and that's a whole different discussion again!

Folk as a live music scene – people standing up and singing traditional songs with other people joining in, or musicians playing at sessions - still seems alive and well.

And that aspect of the folk scene is different enough from other contemporary templates for music-making (most of which have an ideal of pecuniary success as their driver) for me to remain convinced that folk is still more than just the sum of its generic parts.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:24 AM

folk is still more than just the sum of its generic parts.

Hear, hear!

And yes, Folk is alive & well & thriving - no longer a derided specialism, it's an integral multi-facted essential aspect of popular music internationally. Here in the UK I'd have to say it was never better really.

I might even say that FOLK is an idea whose time has well & truly arrived.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:30 AM

Some folk is dead. Some folk is alive.

Very hard to tell with others.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:35 AM

Here is some excellent live music - familiar yet strange:


R & S


L in C#


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:40 AM

"Some folk is dead. Some folk is alive.

Very hard to tell with others."

LOL! Best summary of the folk scene I've heard in years.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:55 AM

I think the OP's thought has to do with wishful perception rather than a well-considered reality.

Some songs do fine in a local area but don't spread much beyond that for various reasons.

In very broad strokes: I love the sound of an erhu played by someone who knows what s/he's about.

Moon Reflected on Erquan Pond - Erhu solo by Zhou Wei

I know that that sound and music affects me at a different place in my head than most country songs, but I'd bet that the erhu played as an accompanying instrument with a guitar and vocal duet/trio on Foster's "Hard Times" would kick ass and take names.

Often, the sound of fifty voices on the same song is awesome. However, I find that too many choirs have little room for a soloist to take off and stretch his or her pipes. When community singing becomes trapped in a lowest common denominator, the music tends to deaden a bit.

Music boils down to understanding and interpretation--although maybe not in that order. Songs (music with lyrics) even more so. Good music is too important to die on the altars of our vanities. That is fortunately being handled by keepers of tradition, and we owe them a debt we may never be able to repay, or even know how to.

Folk music will die when there's no one left to sing the songs, and imo as long as music continues to be important in our daily lives it will remain important in our cultures and there will have to be people to sing the songs.

I have no idea about the OP's intent in starting this thread, but thanks. Gave me some food for thought. And I think you need to consider more completely. No offence intended.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 09:50 AM

Unlike Gibson Boy, I am very sorry that folk dead.

However, I am glad that nobody informed the 2000+ people that packed out the 28 events - many sold out - at Lewes Folk Festival this weekend that folk is dead.

I am also very pleased that none of the 200-odd morris dancers and musicians that took part in the festival plus goodness knows how many people watched those 16 sides dancing in four sites continuously for five hours were aware of the fact.

Did I mention that more than 100 singers that contributed either paid performances or took part in singarounds had not been informed?

Neither were the band, caller and a mass of dancers - a record number at this year's ceilidh - in receipt of this knowledge.

Nor were the visitors who came from five European countries told.... the many young performers....

Would you like me to go on, or have I made my point?

In fact, I would prefer it if Gibsonboy kept this a secret or a lot of people might be confused and wondering what they have enjoyed this weekend.


*********************
Right, I have only been taking a break. Now back to the slog of the final festival accounts.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 11:57 AM

Whenever one of these discussions start I'm always reminded of something John McCusker said, back when he had his Mohican ... (I paraphrase, obviously)

Every few years the media rediscovers folk music, decides it's trendy, and then after a while loses interest and moves on, declaring folk 'dead' in the process. Then a few years later it rediscovers it and the cycle begins again. Meanwhile ... we're here all the time!


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:04 PM

Further signs of life...

http://www.facebook.com/bobsfolkshow


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,mando-player-91
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:13 PM

Nah as long as their is a human race still singing it even a small amount it's not dead.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Morris-ey
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:20 PM

No


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:35 PM

You're possibly right that open mic'ss are the way of the future. But I see that as a good thing, and a very good thing for Folk music. Why? because open mics welcome with open arms the increasing number of people who want to play real instruments and 'live' music. Folk radio and trad Folk clubs are perhaps dying. Radio because it's obsessed with playing the same old artists and largely ignoring the new, anyone who saw the BB folk awrds last year must agree it resembled a ninosaurs graveyard!

Folk Clubs especially the very trad ones, all I hear from young and even old performers is that they feel very unwelcome there as they get dirty looks if they try anything but trad English. Which is fine but nobody seems to want to help newcomers to learn the genre, on top of that most trad booking clubs book the same old faces. Folk has always survived because it changed with the times, it's thriving in the festivals for the very reason you see as killing it. It's welcomed in other genres who in turn can only do Folk good. I.E have you noticed how many Folk acts (largely new ones) have been featured on Jools Holland's show in recent years?
Trad Folk music and an ever ageing BBC radio need to embrace modernity or they will die out, simple as that


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Ernest
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:42 PM

Random thoughts:

#1: Some folks are dead. Still their music is very much alive.


#2: If Folk is dead we are playing dead music. And we play it "live". Can music being played live be dead at the same time? Sounds absurd to me.

#3: Therefore the statement "folk is dead" can only mean the writer doesn`t consider it relevant for him or his peer group or the music industry. Irrelevant for the industry means that there is no big market, but maybe just a small niche for a kind of cottage industry. From that point you could just as well state that organic food is dead. And fast food is relevant.
Irrelevant for himself or his peer group? Lots of things are irrelevant to me and my peer group. Techno or rap music or soccer. Logically they all must be dead too.

#4: Statements like "folk is dead" themselves are deadLY BORING.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:43 PM

If it's not we can always kill it.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 01:01 PM

There were three men came out of the west
Their fortunes for try
And these three men swore a solemn oath
That folk music would die
Thet bashed it with a bodhran
They sang it, just to bore
But the BBC served it worst of all
With a series of programmes on folk music
First shown on BBC4


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 01:03 PM

Desi C, sorry if it seems like I'm picking on you below. I'm not, but I hear the sort of things you're saying quite a bit so I'm kind of hijacking your post to make a few points. No offence intended!

Open mics welcome with open arms the increasing number of people who want to play real instruments and 'live' music.

The ones I've been to are either endless covers of Don McLean, Bob Marley and so on or generally not very good (with a few notable exceptions) acoustic singer songwriters. I didn't hear much folk, even in the broadest sense of the word. Of course, anywhere with live music is a good thing, but I don't necessarily see much relationship between open mics and folk music. Especially the open mics that are more like acoustic karaoke nights...

Anyone who saw the BB folk awards last year must agree it resembled a dinosaurs graveyard!

Far be it from me etc, etc, but I wouldn't call The Unthanks, The Young Folk Awards entrants, Tim Edey and so on dinosaurs. Don McLean, yes, but he was there to appease the R2 demographic. And any ceremony that gives a Lifetime Acheivement Award to the great Bill Leader can't be all bad. He may be in his 80s but he's no dinosaur!

Folk Clubs especially the very trad ones, all I hear from young and even old performers is that they feel very unwelcome there as they get dirty looks if they try anything but trad English.

I've found the trad ones to be extremely welcoming. More so than the anything goes ones, certainly. The traddish singaround I mainly go to always has someone or other who insists on playing something that isn't trad, but they always get a polite smattering of applause. I also think if a folk club describes itself as 'trad' there's a bit of a clue on the tin. You wouldn't go to a jazz worshop and play death metal. Or would you? :-)

Which is fine but nobody seems to want to help newcomers to learn the genre

Beginners tunes sessions at the Beech in Chorlton. That's helping. I'm sure there's plenty of other examples.

Trad Folk music and an ever ageing BBC radio need to embrace modernity or they will die out, simple as that

Have you not noticed all the trad singers and players under 30? I persoanlly find a lot of it a bit bland, but it's definitely out there. And Mike Harding has played stuff I've put out on Folk Police that certainly isn't old stuff by old people. Though a bit of old stuff by old people isn't necessarily a bad thing. Have you heard Tom Paley's new album?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Ron
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 02:38 PM

Predictions of the death of folk music have been going on for so long they are almost traditional.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:16 PM

Shouldn't the title of this thread be "Are folk dead?"


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:20 PM

Gotta pluralize the word folk then. Howz about

"Is/Are Folk/Folks Dead?"

I'm just tryna help out here . . .


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:32 PM

No folk 'n' good?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:38 PM

The horse chestnut season is here, but the sweet chestnuts are not yet ready in these parts.

....as long as I've been in folk this particular chestnut has always re-surfaced!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:44 PM

I posted earlier but it has vanished. Folk is not a matter of form but of derivation. And it is not dead.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,muskrat
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 05:55 PM

It's very much alive here in North Elmham as our regular Sunday night club shows!


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:50 PM

I hate the modern commercial aspects of folk music - you know learning your words properly singing in tune - remembering to relate to the audience and staying relatively sober while performing. Twill be the death a of vibrant living art form to to be sure, I mean people will start rehearsing next and thats just the end of everything as we know folk

Our local club thanks to Kevin Sheils and colleagues seems to be thriving at the Olde Rose and Crown


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 04:42 AM

Folk is not a matter of form but of derivation.

I think this sort of 1954 thing is long dead though, assuming it had any life in it in the first place outside of a shrinking cell of fundamentalist pseudo-academic reactionaries. There's no longer any point in asking What is folk? because everyone knows what it is - and what it does. It's right there on the tin & it's alive and well because of that. These days Folk is all about form - and the derivation is immaterial to the overall aesthetic which determines that form.

On Mudcat you often hear Folk referred to as The sort of music we like which sums it up pretty neatly. And you're hardly going to call other genres of music Folk Music because their derivation fits in with the Patronisining Colonial Prescriptiveness of the 1954 Definition, are you? Or are you?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 04:57 AM

Poem

Folk is not a matter of form, but one of derivation.
There is a term for that, my friend, call it:-
verbal masturbation.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 05:03 AM

The problem for you Blan-whoever-you-used-to-be is that the 1954 definition is basically right (could do with a little fine tuning) and culturally neutral. Your "definition" if that is the word for it would leave Peruvian nose flutes (or aborigine chant or whatever) as not folk music which is plainly ridiculous while admitting Mumford and Sons which is equally ridiculous.

And while I hate Sweeney O'Pibroch's pretentious use of things like a kaossilator on (say) the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens - by your "definition" it would not be folk whereas it obviously is.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 05:13 AM

You put you left leg in, your left leg out .............

L in C#
Beech Singaround tonight M21 9EG


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:04 AM

That's a folk dance!


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:05 AM

And the problem with your definition is that the chances of a chanting aborigine or a Peruvian Nose Flautist turning up to do a floorspot are extremely remote.

Whereas the chances are some misguided soul, with the potential to become a folksinger, might turn up and do a Damien Rice or a Mumford and sons song.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Pete the Pirate
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:32 AM

I tend to agree that Folk by the people, for the people, amongst the people, is alive and well. On the other hand you have the concert based, guest booking Folk where we are under seige from armies of singer songwriters who use folk as a platform to perform their introspective ramblings. This area of alleged folk is in my view slowly dying and a good thing to.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,matt milt
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:50 AM

"I've found the trad ones to be extremely welcoming. More so than the anything goes ones, certainly. The traddish singaround I mainly go to always has someone or other who insists on playing something that isn't trad, but they always get a polite smattering of applause. I also think if a folk club describes itself as 'trad' there's a bit of a clue on the tin."

But that reminds me of a curious unwritten rule about quite a few trad folk clubs: that certain singer-songwriter repertoire is allowed and positively welcomed. As if it were traditional. Richard Thompson songs, Les Barker songs, Ralph McTell songs, Jake Thackray songs etc.

...Or alternatively that other rather arcane aspect of trad folk clubs: the old spoken music-hall monologue/routine. You only tend to get that, ironically, at the more trad clubs - not the "anything goes" ones. Ironically, because were someone to go to a trad folk club and launch into a Bill Hicks or Eddie Izzard standup routine, audiences would presumably regard that as inappropriate.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:55 AM

Richard Bridge: And while I hate Sweeney O'Pibroch's pretentious use of things like a kaossilator on (say) the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens...

How can a small electronic drone generator (or it's use) be pretentious? Would it be ok if it was a shruti box? It's just a drone, man!

'Big' Al Whittle: And the problem with your definition is that the chances of a chanting aborigine or a Peruvian Nose Flautist turning up to do a floorspot are extremely remote.

Whereas the chances are some misguided soul, with the potential to become a folksinger, might turn up and do a Damien Rice or a Mumford and sons song


The former are unlikely to turn up at a folk club in (f'rinstance)Northamptonshire. They are however highly likely to play the folk music of their own culture in the places where they live. The chances of a person covering a Mumford and Son song turning up at a remote mountain settlement in Peru or an Aboriginal settlement in the outback is also pretty slim. Or are you assuming folk music only exists in white English speaking cultures and only takes one form? And that Peruvian folk music is not folk music?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 07:02 AM

the old spoken music-hall monologue/routine

Phew. We don't tend to get this...


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 07:05 AM

Gibsonboy just wanted to start an argument, I love a good argument but Gibsonboy just talks bollocks.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Murphy
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 07:36 AM

Sorry to mention Country Music in this thread. It seems to me that since that Brokeback Mountain movie it is now obligatory for male country singers to reach higher pitch than the females. I haven't heard a good country song for over ten years. That "sreech factor" which has permeated all genres must be due to the evolution of the human ear which can no longer tolerate "normal" pitch. Us old fogies are the losers.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 07:48 AM

I would love to know who the "same old faces" who get booked around the trad clubs are; considering that the club that I have helped run for the last 21 years, and which has been described as being "too traditional" (a bit like saying that the BNP is too right wing I always think) usually has a gap of around three to five years before a guest returns. As for not encouraging the younger generation we have had among our guests over the last couple of years Jon Boden and Fay Heild, The Askew Sisters, Sam Lee, Gren Bartley and Tom Kitching (we have Pilgrim's Way next year), Sam Sweeney & Hannah James and Jim Causley many of whom have featured on the television programmes mentioned above. We have even been described as "welcoming" by none other than arch traddie –basher Big Al himself (:-))
Yes I'm sure that Gibsonboy just popped in to stir the shit but it did open the floodgates for some of the ill informed comments that have ensued


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 09:35 AM

Dead? How can it be be dead when Mark Ratcliffe is presenting a new Folk show on Radio 2? Shame he's not doing it with The Boy Lard though - well I remember the Folkier aspects of their Radio 1 show with Bernard Wrigley, the History of the Strawbs and features on Morris Dancer of the Week. Anyway, check it out...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2012/mark-radcliffe-adds-folk-to-radio-2-roster.html

*

The problem for you Blan-whoever-you-used-to-be is that the 1954 definition is basically right (could do with a little fine tuning) and culturally neutral.

Balls. It's born of Upper Class English Colonialism. How on earth is that Culturally Neutral? It's as biased as it is patronising & condescending.

Your "definition" if that is the word for it would leave Peruvian nose flutes (or aborigine chant or whatever) as not folk music

Do I have a definition? Not sure if I do. Music is what it is - it doesn't need defining, just observing & respecting. Peruvian Nose Flute music is Peruvian Nose Flute music - why does it have to be folk as well? I've got shelves of ethnomusicological field recordings and very few of them use the term folk. Some do, granted, but it really is quite irrelavant to (say) Ritual New Guinea Flute Music or Mauritanian Griots or Madagascan Fiddle Music or Albanian Kaba laments. To say these musics are somehow folk because of some ghastly set of prescriptions hatched as Holy Writ in some ivory tower by a bunch of quasi-religious aristocrats and clung onto zealously by the fundamentalist faithful ever since is utter nonsense.

which is plainly ridiculous while admitting Mumford and Sons which is equally ridiculous.

Having never knowingly heard Mumford & Sons I couldn't possibly say.

And while I hate Sweeney O'Pibroch's pretentious use of things like a kaossilator on (say) the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens

Never sung Sir Patrick Spens in my entire life, though earlier on today I was using the Kaossilator for looping drones, Jew's Harp and pocket trumpet on King Orfeo. How on earth is that pretentious, Richard? Untypical maybe, I grant, in Folk circles anyway, but it's just what comes naturally to me, just as plagiarising Martin Carthy ballads comes naturally to you.

by your "definition" it would not be folk whereas it obviously is.

I've no problem calling it folk because folk is nothing if it isn't FORM and IDIOM. Amongst tons of other things Folk Form & Idiom consists of drones, modes and a studied unnatural obsession with traditional balladry - all of which I have in spades. Any accompaniment of such balladry is entirely relevant - be it an English Concertina or a fiddle or a banjo or guitar or a laptop computer or an Indian pocket trumpet looped through a Korg Kaossilator with mountains of FX thrown in for good measure.

Would I do this in Folk Club? No. But I do it at home & on-line & in more 'experimental' performance contexts where a ballad or two goes down a lot warmer than even an electronic shruti box does at a folk club. It's more than once I've had some mithering folkie coming up to me saying 'As a purist I find your use of electronic drones deeply offensive' or how dare you use a Turkish fiddle and Indian harmonium to accompany English Folk Song. Of course self confessed purists know fuck all about musical realities. Fact. If they did, they wouldn't be purists.

I wonder - are you a purist too Richard? Or just a Righteous Folk Puritan? WAV-like in your wonky prescriptions of how it ought to be, rather than just out there delighting in how it is...

1954 Folk isn't dead because it never existed in the first place. The Revival Continuum, OTOH, does exist. It stetches from the night of August 22nd 1903 when Cecil Sharp performed his parlour arrangement of Seeds of Love right through Fairport, Pentangle, Mr Fox, The Wicker Man Soundtrack to the myriad folk musicians & singers both great & small, straight & weird, out there doing their own thing in their own way today.

2012 Folk is alive & well & amazing; 2013 Folk will be even better.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: John P
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 10:00 AM

It's interesting that all the examples given so far for both folk being dead and for folk being alive and well are about folk music taking place in public venues: concerts, clubs, sessions, open mics, festivals. Even those who talk about folk music being non-commercial and home-grown only talk about going out somewhere, usually to a commercial establishment, to see or take part in it. Most of the folk music I play takes place in people's homes.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 10:22 AM

Most of the folk music I play takes place in people's homes.

Testify, brother! We need to know...

In our home there's lots of it too, sessions, recording, rehearsals but mostly for the pure unadulterated joy of it. Some nights we're too engrossed doing music we forget about going to the folk club. I suspect that's true of most Folkie Homes... and Musicianly Homes in general. Music is a domestic joy, like making love, raising kids, making up flat-pack IKEA* bookcases and baking bread - ancient things done eternally by way of renewal of our very humanity.

By my own fireside with my wife I do sing -
& I wouldn't change that with a high-crowned king!


* I've heard much Viking furniture was flat-packed, to be carried o'er seas and erected in foreign lands. Then you drive out where the storms clouds follow, and the sound of your hex key grinding hollow, is all you will hear in the months to follow...


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: artbrooks
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 10:44 AM

Just a reset for those who haven't sat through multiple iterations of people (mostly Brits, I think) discussing "what is (and isn't) folk...The International Folk Music Council in 1954 defined folk music as "the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission." That organization is part of the International Music Council which is, in turn, part of UNESCO.

IMHO, "oral" includes recordings and playing/singing from written notation, as well as sitting at the knee of someone who learned material from multiple generations of knee sitters. Others are free to disagree.


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