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womens role in folk clubs

Fay 01 Apr 03 - 08:39 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 08:50 AM
GUEST 01 Apr 03 - 08:55 AM
Abby Sale 01 Apr 03 - 08:58 AM
Peg 01 Apr 03 - 09:15 AM
GUEST 01 Apr 03 - 09:16 AM
breezy 01 Apr 03 - 09:17 AM
JudeL 01 Apr 03 - 09:20 AM
wilco 01 Apr 03 - 09:21 AM
treewind 01 Apr 03 - 09:30 AM
Brian Hoskin 01 Apr 03 - 09:33 AM
Fay 01 Apr 03 - 09:33 AM
Dave Bryant 01 Apr 03 - 09:33 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 09:34 AM
Fay 01 Apr 03 - 09:42 AM
JudeL 01 Apr 03 - 09:44 AM
George Papavgeris 01 Apr 03 - 09:46 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 09:47 AM
Blackcatter 01 Apr 03 - 09:54 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 09:56 AM
Fay 01 Apr 03 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Kit 01 Apr 03 - 10:05 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 10:07 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 10:08 AM
JudeL 01 Apr 03 - 10:13 AM
Watson 01 Apr 03 - 10:14 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 10:17 AM
George Papavgeris 01 Apr 03 - 10:18 AM
JudeL 01 Apr 03 - 10:22 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 10:23 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 10:26 AM
Pied Piper 01 Apr 03 - 10:28 AM
GUEST 01 Apr 03 - 10:31 AM
GUEST 01 Apr 03 - 10:34 AM
Beardy 01 Apr 03 - 10:37 AM
Watson 01 Apr 03 - 10:39 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 01 Apr 03 - 10:46 AM
George Papavgeris 01 Apr 03 - 10:48 AM
greg stephens 01 Apr 03 - 10:52 AM
Jeanie 01 Apr 03 - 11:03 AM
Fay 01 Apr 03 - 11:20 AM
GUEST 01 Apr 03 - 11:20 AM
breezy 01 Apr 03 - 11:21 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Apr 03 - 11:42 AM
SarahC 01 Apr 03 - 11:47 AM
Sooz 01 Apr 03 - 11:59 AM
Mary Humphreys 01 Apr 03 - 12:15 PM
JennyO 01 Apr 03 - 12:20 PM
Clean Supper 01 Apr 03 - 12:22 PM
Deni-C 01 Apr 03 - 12:34 PM
Grab 01 Apr 03 - 02:00 PM
harvey andrews 01 Apr 03 - 02:05 PM
Abby Sale 01 Apr 03 - 02:55 PM
JudeL 01 Apr 03 - 03:17 PM
Padre 01 Apr 03 - 03:32 PM
Abby Sale 01 Apr 03 - 03:43 PM
breezy 01 Apr 03 - 04:01 PM
harpgirl 01 Apr 03 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Yodelady@stny.rr.com 01 Apr 03 - 06:13 PM
Abby Sale 01 Apr 03 - 06:55 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Apr 03 - 07:29 PM
harpgirl 01 Apr 03 - 08:58 PM
Abby Sale 01 Apr 03 - 10:51 PM
Fay 02 Apr 03 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Mary Humphreys 02 Apr 03 - 08:00 AM
Fay 02 Apr 03 - 08:14 AM
Rapparee 02 Apr 03 - 09:22 AM
JennyO 02 Apr 03 - 09:46 AM
harpgirl 02 Apr 03 - 09:54 AM
JudeL 02 Apr 03 - 10:10 AM
Abby Sale 02 Apr 03 - 01:19 PM
Abby Sale 02 Apr 03 - 02:05 PM
open mike 02 Apr 03 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,joe 02 Apr 03 - 03:49 PM
Marje 02 Apr 03 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Benbow 02 Apr 03 - 05:33 PM
Bernard 02 Apr 03 - 06:32 PM
alison 02 Apr 03 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,joe 02 Apr 03 - 08:09 PM
Little Hawk 02 Apr 03 - 11:08 PM
Dave Bryant 03 Apr 03 - 10:09 AM
Dave Bryant 03 Apr 03 - 10:29 AM
JennyO 03 Apr 03 - 11:47 AM
Fay 03 Apr 03 - 01:14 PM
Gurney 04 Apr 03 - 03:23 AM
GUEST,noddy 04 Apr 03 - 10:12 AM
Ely 04 Apr 03 - 05:01 PM
Abby Sale 04 Apr 03 - 11:39 PM
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Subject: women's role in folk clubs
From: Fay
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 08:39 AM

I'm interested to know what the role of women has been in the Folk Club scene.

I'm not a raving feminist or anything, but it has become apparent through my research in to folk music in Keighley in the 60's/70's that the majority of performers, both floor singers and booked artists have been men, but on the social side there are lots of women attending clubs as audience members. Also who runs the clubs, is this where the women come in?

Why was/is this? is it because women don't sing as much as men, or are they not invited to, or are they not as good?

Start a heated debate please!!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 08:50 AM

Dont know what it was like in keighley in the 60's, but my recollection of the club in Oxford then is that were plenty of women singers. Definitely not a   majority, but I can think of ten off the top of my head.
   The booked guests were definitely mainly men, though, there weren't that many women working the clubs then at all.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 08:55 AM

Well someone has to bring the sarnies round and drive the drunken blokes home at the end of the night.

;0]


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 08:58 AM

Women aren't the major singers usually because they just don't have the serious repertoire - they usually just want to sing the romantic love songs. Of course, if they're sexy, they are more likely to be a desired act - same as in pop music.

I thought from the Subject, however, you meant women's role in folk clubs, themselves. Usually they are the support people - handle publicity, prepare any food that's going to be offered, set up the rood - whatever is needed. Men usually handle the organizing and financial sides. It's always worked better that way in all sorts of organizations and it would be just the same for folk organizations, of course.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Peg
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:15 AM

wow! only four posts and this thread's already full of sexist crap!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:16 AM

Yep, Truth always hurts.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: breezy
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:17 AM

To keep the men in their place and do the raffle.
And to enchant the audience with their singing.
To organise when the men dont.
To take over at every conceivalbe [anag]! opportunity.
And to sulk.
To heckle.
and to plot
and dance round handbags
To pull.
And be pulled.
And to do the raffle the following wek
and the door
And the posters
and to harmonise
to smell nice
To wear provocative clothing to give the main guest a .....distraction that keeps him up on stage all night.
Cyril Tawney was driven to distraction at the Comfort thanks to ....a and ....e!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: JudeL
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:20 AM

Abbey, whilst this is NOT intended as a flame I have to ask "What century are you living in?". Your ideas that "women.. don't have the serious repetoire", that they are (and imply should be) the support people not the organisers in the folk clubs and that "it is better that way" (implication that women should play a subordinate role) leave me flabergasted! I am far from being a militant feminist but that "it is better that way" leaves me wondering why you should have such a totally dismissive attitude the abilities of your fellow women? Do you really believe that women are not as good at handling finances or organising as men? Who do you think have for centuries handled the organisation needed to have an orderly household.... I'll give you a clue.... it ain't the men! If you have ever dealt with squabbling children, you would realise the value of negotiating skills, especially in terms of stating clearly what is and is not expected from each person.

I know this is drifting from the thread a little and I apologise for that but just because something may have been true 40/50 years ago don't mean it still the same today, nor does it mean it should be!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: wilco
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:21 AM

I can't think of anything that a woman couldn't do in almost any setting, including any musical setting. Same observations in US.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: treewind
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:30 AM

It's never occurred to me for a moment that there was any imbalance. Without bothering to sit down and actually write a list (and I really can't be bothered) I'd say that there are just an many women as men in the audience, singing and running clubs.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:33 AM

I was assuming that Abby's post was ironic (?)


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Fay
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:33 AM

There does seem to be quite a feminist angle to this, and I didn't mean it to go that way, but I suppose that is a part of my quandry about it all.

Folkies are renound for their hippiness are they not, and their love and acceptance of all and everything and the equality and harmony of the world as it should be.

So why are there still these roles, how do men feel about women singing in clubs, how do women feel about men singing in clubs. How do women feel about men doing the raffle.

Repertoire was an interesting observation - not that I would go anywhere near Abby's statement, but is there a difference in repertoire, are women trying to get something different out of the songs than men? Are men and women trying to get something different from the night out down the club?


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:33 AM

I can think of dozens of female singers, some with groups and some solo what about:

Anne Briggs
Frankie Armstrong
Peta Webb
June Tabour
Hilary Spencer (even in Artisan, she and and Jacey outnumber Brian)
Dangerous Curves
Peggy Seeger
Jackie & Bridie
Belle Stewart
Jeannie Robertson
Bonnie Shaljean (sometimes on Mudcat)
Eliza Carthy
Anni Fentiman
Norma Waterson
Julie Felix
Nadia Cattouse
Joan Baez
Isobel Sutherland

I could go on and on - as far as floor singers go I can think of clubs and sessions which often have more women than men, try "Travelling Folk" for instance. If you go to the sessions in the barn at Towersey, the ladies definitely are in abundance (both numerically and by volume - ducks missiles from JudeL, LTS, Pearl etc) - I've even known men to wear skirts on the Saturday night, just to get a song !


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:34 AM

Have been trying to recollect a bit more accurately. I reckon I can remember about 30 male and 10 female singers from 62-66 in the Oxford Heritage FC., but only a couple of female guest artists.
   As to provocative clothing...well we were all in the age range 18-22 I suppose, and while folk music was possibly the main topic of mutual interest, there were other activities that occupied us.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Fay
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:42 AM

I'm not doubting that there were many women on the scene, and that many did have an active involvement.

But through the interviews and question's I've been asking around the Keighley area, even though the people I have been interviewing haven't noticed an imbalance, and said there weren't any issues surrounding it, they were quite hard pressed to recall more that a couple of female singers.

Maybe it has all changed now, certainly in Keighley there are lots of female singers about. But why was it like that in the beginning of the club?

I'll stop battling my corner soon if I don't get a response backing me up in some way, but I'd really like some women to say how they felt about it. If I'm wrong and making a bigger thing out of a snippet of stuff than it warrants, then thats fine


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: JudeL
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:44 AM

Back to the original question posed by the thread. This is the line up of artists for March and April at the Hitchin Folk Club as detailed in their newsletter.

"What a March we had! Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman soon helped us get over the disappointment of Waterson/Carthy not being able to make it, Brooks Williams was simply superb and Tommy Emmanuel was unbelievable. Noel Murphy was at his hilarious best with Cathryn Craig and Brian Willoughby giving us a rare Nashville sound (why is Cathryn not a big country star?) and last night with Lindisfarne was just magic.

April kicks off on the 6th with Harvey Andrews. (promo paragraph cut)

In the early 70s an excellent band call "Jade" graced the stages of the folk circuit, singer and songwriter, Marianne Segal was the darling of the clubs. Their critically acclaimed album, "Fly on strange wings", now a collectors item, is being released on CD, and to promote this Marianne and her band are doing a handful of concerts, ours being one on Sunday 13th.

Suntrap are our Easter guests this year on the 20th. The songwriters (Sara Byers and Paul Hoad) create original, innovative works drawing on English song tradition and American Folk & Country."

Whilst it's not quite 50/50 men & women, the women artists are far from being invisable and they are definitly taken serriously.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:46 AM

Not me, Greg, I was serious...;-)
The title of this thread surprised me so much, that I nearly reverted to my original culture and posted a load of sexist crap myself. After all, we Greeks have some of the best lines on that score...
But no, not true. Like treewind, I have never thought that there was an imbalance. Most of the voices I admire are female (June Tabor, Moira Craig, HergaKitty, most recently Mary Humphries and Marilyn Middleton - against those I only have Martyn Wyndham-Read, Johnny Collins and Mick Ryan readily to mind). Most of my learnings abt folk have come from women.

I would not be surprised to find that membership of Mudcat is split 50-50 too.

So I don't feel the weaker (ha!) sex is underrepresented in folk. Thankfully so.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:47 AM

I've just dug out a tape of the club I've been talking about, compiled(by someone else) from sessions at the club 62-66. Interestingly, it features our very own McGrath from harlow in his youth. This tape is much more dominated by men than my recollections of the club(but I didnt make the compilation!). There are ten men and one woman on it.
However, interestingly enough, in Dave Bryant post earlier listing women performers in folk, 2 (10%) of his list were members of the club I am talking about in the 60's. So it was obviously a good place for women performers to practise their art in their formative years!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Blackcatter
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:54 AM

From what I've seen there's little imbalace around Orlando. There are both men and women performing and working in clubs at various levels.

What is interesting is that at the open mikes, women seem to be less likely to suck. I don't think this is because women are superior to men (though they probably are), but I chalk it up to the willingness of men to get up on stage whether they're any good or not, whereas women wait unilt they're somewhat accomplished. Then again, there's one woman in the area who perpetually sings just a tiny bit flat. Drives me nuts!

pax yall

Oh, by the way, I'd still do her.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:56 AM

It's easy to forget how very fast some of the social changes happened in England in the 60's. In the club I'm discussing, the role of women expanded hugely just in the period 1962 to 1965. I'm also talking about a university town (Oxford) 50 miles from London. Those changes would have lagged by a few years in Keighley. Though I suspect the shortening of skirt-lengths in that period happened about contemporaneously. What would have bben the year when suspender belts finally gave up to the rise of the mini-skirt in Keighley? I guess about 1964 in Oxford.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Fay
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 09:56 AM

Charming.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST,Kit
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:05 AM

Do people agree that there are likely to be differences from one club to another based on the typical repertoire and style of the club?

For example, there is a club local to me (North Yorkshire) where the singing (about 40% of the evening) consists largely of industrial revolution workers' songs and similar - most of the singers, and a good proportion of the attendees, are male. But in other clubs where the focus of the evening's music is different, you can find more women singing than men... It all depends.

(Also, of course, it is always harder to gain the confidence to join in a chorus with a group whose voices are in a very different range than your own, just because you *will* stand out...)

My two penn'orth

Kit


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:07 AM

It was.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:08 AM

My "it was", by the way, was addressed to Fay, not Guset Kit


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: JudeL
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:13 AM

Following on this thing about differences in repetoires. These are my impressions and I admit they are just impressions. There are a number of male singers who'se repetoires appear to consist almost entirely of sea shanties with a few sea songs thrown in. You don't tend to get women with that sort of rep. There are a lot of comedy songs for women to sing, and they are often ridiculing or getting the better of men. A lot of the songs for men are active songs dealing with the work that they do. Women often sing (re-active) songs about dealing with the consequences of the aftermath of mens decisions, either having been used, left behind while he goes to fight or work or been transported. Men tend to sing fewer ballads than women. Please note, just because a song is a ballad does not mean it is romantic!

On the balance of participation, it depends what sort of a place it is and if it's a singaround or a tune session. Tune sessions, especially the "irish" type do seem to me to be mostly men, especially when they are held in dingy, smoky tap rooms of pubs. Singarounds seem mostly to be about equal men & women.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Watson
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:14 AM

Guset Kit Greg?
Is that some sort of DiY underwear?


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:17 AM

Sorry Watson, my typing always derterirates wen I'm thinking about underware.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:18 AM

I never wore suspenders - have I missed something?
I thought wearing pleated skirts and bobbles on my shoes was bad enough...


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: JudeL
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:22 AM

Who says women don't wear suspenders anymore?


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:23 AM

That George Michael's Greek isn't he, El Greko?


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:26 AM

I only said they appeared to have stopped wearing suspenders by 1964/65ish in Oxford. My researches weren't as extensive as I would have liked, but I did what I could. It wasnt so easy to get research grants in those days.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Pied Piper
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:28 AM

Greetings, Gentles and Ladies Men

   As a person that these days (apart from a few notable exceptions), avoids Folk clubs like the Plague, can I say that if such a gender imbalance occurs and I suspect that it does, this might be due to the fact that more men are involved in playing music and singing than women generally.
As to why this should be I think It wise to keep my own council.

   All the best


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:31 AM

Go on Piedy - spoil yourself. tell us.....


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:34 AM

Here's a thought. Does anyone else find that a bad female singer grates more than a bad male singer? Could be something to do with the pitch? The higher pitch being more intrusive and less ignorable.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Beardy
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:37 AM

Cyril Tawney should be driven to distraction whenever possible...and as often. Suntrap are great and should be seen when in your area.

Stewart


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Watson
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:39 AM

The folk club I go to most often is run by one man and one woman.
The last guests - Roam - female singer with 3 men.
Before that - Anne Lennox-Martin - solo female singer.
Before that - Rapsquillion - (on the night) 2 men, 2 women.

Guest nights alternate with singers' nights when there is a fairly even split.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:46 AM

Fay – I'm interested by your research and might be able to help. Please drop me a PM sometime if you'd like to converse further.

Greg – I was a regular at your Oxford folk club. My recollections are similar to yours, but there's a point you're missing. Before the old colleges went co-ed, the male-female ratio among Oxford University students was about 10-1. Even counting the non-university students - at the secretarial schools, nursing colleges and so forth - there was still a considerable surplus of males. (Or as we used to say, a shortage of crumpet.) It's hardly surprising that the m/f ratio in student clubs and societies was skewed. But on the other hand, all female singers (and talented ones especially) had considerable scarcity value, and got more attention for that reason.

However, my recollection of other English folk clubs during the sixties and seventies is that women were generally under-represented - as audience members, floor-singers, booked artists and organisers. Although I don't attend clubs so frequently now, recent experience of sessions and singarounds, is that women make up a noticably larger proportion in all categories. I have no theory to explain this, but here is a suggestion.

For most of us, male or female, it takes a bit of nerve to walk into a pub/club, where you know hardly anybody, introduce yourself to all and sundry, and offer to participate in a musical evening. It takes even more nerve to say "I'd like to help run this club", or "I'm a really good singer, give me a booking." In times past, many girls (and especially 'nice' girls) were raised in a way that discouraged them from pushing themselves forward. (They might even be told that it was a bad idea for them to go into pubs at all.)

But that was then. Now, women have become a lot more assertive, which I think is a very good thing. (And I have my wife's permission to say so.)


Wassail!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:48 AM

JudeL, you shouldn't have said that, just as I was starting to forget that Friday evening at the Comfort Hotel....Those in the know will know!

Greg, yes he's a Greek, and I'd give a lot to have George Michael's voice, but no...not that!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:52 AM

This thread is bringing back memories: I dug out the tape I referred to earlier and have it on at the moment, and the first singer on it is the Mike from Northumbria who has just posted here. (You were singing the Three Sailors of Bristol City, by the way,Mike).


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Jeanie
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:03 AM

If you are researching folk clubs of the 60s/70s, Fay, I am not surprised that the women you have interviewed remember the male performers/audience members more than the female ones. As Greg said: "While folk music was possibly the main topic of mutual interest, there were other activities that occupied us." As a for instance, (and this hardly ranks as academic research on my part),in a couple of reminiscing conversations I have had with two male Mudcatters who went to the Hornchurch Folk Club, Essex in the late 60s/early 70s, my abiding memory was of Dominic, the wonderfully handsome hunk who ran the club (he played guitar well too !), whereas the males' instant recall and waxing lyrical was on the subject of the leather hotpants worn by Dominic's girlfriend.

Nor am I surprised that the women that you interviewed, recalling attending folk clubs at that time, "didn't notice a male/female imbalance" and "said there weren't any issues surrounding it". My memory of folk clubs at this time (when I was teenage/early twenties)is that there *were* more males there than females, both as performers and audience. This may or may not be numerically correct ! I was the only girl in a mob of lads who went to Brentwood Folk Club every week in the late 1960's - and I certainly didn't "have any issues" about that - on the contrary !

In the early to mid 1970s in the part of Cornwall I moved to, I think it is true that there were far more male performers than female, both the guest artists and the folk club resident performers and floor singers. Again, as a female singer, I would have been daft to have any "issue" about that !

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Fay
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:20 AM

Sorry, Jeanie, I seem to have been misleading - my interviews have so far all been with men, and if your theory stands up, they should surely have remembered more than the one or two sexy lasses on the scene?


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:20 AM

Perhaps they weren't very sexy


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: breezy
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:21 AM

it was by a womans fair hand that I was lead, willingly to the Black Horse, Rathbone Place, in 1964.
It was Mary with Peter and |Paul that showed me the light.
I love em.
I gain much pleasure playing for them.
so El Grek, consider yourself well honoured.
so their role includes leading us men to ....this.
Market research shows that Redbourn, Hitchen, waltham abbey, Sharps are run by women.
I love Shiela best.cos she booked El Grk and me for sharps in November
I'm sorry Pied |Piper doesnt go to folk clubs anymore.
Ours is friendly, fun and we have the best artistes appearing.But we dont do many tunes! unless by prior arrangement!!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:42 AM

Folk clubs these days seem fairly even numbers, though I imagine they vary. Back in the 60s? That's a long time ago, and I wasn't counting. Heritage was an odd one, since Oxford University in those days hade a lot more men than women, and at least officially it was university club. But there still seem to have been a fair number of women there, including guest performers.

Now sessions, that's a different matter. My impression is they tend to be heavily male dominated, this being an aspect of the pub culture, and the fact they are normally pub based. (An effect of the bizarre legal situation in England which penalises live music in any other setting even more heavilybthan in pubs, as those who have been keeping up with the PEL business will appreciate.)


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: SarahC
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:47 AM

Never noticed very many female musicians though! Maybe more now than there used to be. Maybe because sessions are in pubs which has always been a male environment and it is very rare to have a partner who will willingly sit through hours of sessions when they don't play, therefore women musicians have to go alone which has caused some comment in the past.

Just my experience.

Cheers
Sarah


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Sooz
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 11:59 AM

Has this thread got anything to do with today's date? (It can't be serious surely)


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 12:15 PM

Breezy: when we come to your club you can have tunes by the furlong!Promise!
On the thread topic: I well remember the sixties and early seventies. There were fewer women singers around in my (then) neck of the woods - Manchester and later Hull. I never felt in folk clubs that I was marginalised. Rather, I felt supported by my colleagues in the folk song movement - particularly Jim Carroll, Barry Taylor, Terry Whelan and Harry Boardman who were around at the time. They encouraged my interest and involvement hugely. I can't thank them enough! They were supportive in my endeavours to develop my own repertoire based on my own interests and research within the available literature and recordings.
My view on the prevalence of women singers on the circuit ( or lack of it) at the time ( remember the 60's & 70's? ) is that women who were not in paid employment were expected to spend more time at home if they were married, and look to their husbands' needs. They would have had less time to devote to study /practice / research / performance than men who expected their women-folk to provide their creature comforts.I was fortunate in that I was not married and was able, as a student at University, to devote time to research which a woman with a family wouldn't have been able to do.It enabled me to get experience in running a folk club in a democratic manner too.
When I married and had children - even though I carried on researching songs and never stopped singing, I was much more confined to home. I ran workshops at home, but didn't tour or do any public performances because of the childcare problems that would have created.
Now my children are adults and I have a wonderfully understanding partner who shares my singing interests I don't have to compromise. Only the day-job which pays the mortgage gets in the way of touring and spreading my enthusiasm for traditional folk-song & music to more people.
So, in a nutshell - women who are mothers generally do not travel to distant gigs. Women who are wives have to negotiate with their menfolk if they want to travel to perform.( One assumes men who are husbands do the same...) Women who are wage-earners have to consider whether gigs are too far to travel to. ( Again this applies to men.)


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: JennyO
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 12:20 PM

Well maybe it has. Just reading the thread title made me bristle.

Here in Sydney, Sandra runs The Loaded Dog, Sydney's biggest acoustic folk club, and I run North By Northwest Folk Club, another successful folk club which I started over 5 years ago. And I sing.
Our audiences would be about 50/50 men and women, and the same goes for performers.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Clean Supper
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 12:22 PM

Thinking about the relative numbers of men and women and their roles in sessions and the folk scene in general, I first thought there was some imbalance in favour of men in the places I have been and I thought about the possibility that they might have been in fact just another group of people in the world who, though perhaps better politicised than some, are still trying to grow out of well-formed and frankly comfortable and addictive habits. My next thought was that perhaps women are very well represented but my innate self-centredness has led me to not notice the contributions of women to the same extent and only the dominant or ver regular contributors stand out in my memory. Undoubtedly there is some of both.

The issue of who is brave enough to perform without being world-class is an important one. I think it would be of help to a lot of under-represented groups and viewpoints for casual sessions to make a conscious effort to encourage new people up all the time. (I'm trying hard not to link to the Eggs in Sessions thread.)

Incidentally, it reminds me that I heard it said once that men are far more likely than women to think they're good drivers when they're not.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Deni-C
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 12:34 PM

For every five male singer/guitarists in our club (The Hyde Folk Club, Plymouth)we have one woman singer. Our committee has three women and four men, which I think is a pretty even mix, although not intended. Only two women play the guitar, but I know a local acoustic guitar club has a high proportion of young female guitrists.

Maybe there are just more men than women looking to go out and sing in the evenings.

D


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Grab
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 02:00 PM

Not that I can claim a wide or deep knowledge. But round our way, women seem to be more likely to be the singers, and men seem more likely to be the musicians. So women performing will often be accompanied by a man, whereas the bloke will often be performing solo. Maybe because it's kind of easier to get away with being a bad singer behind a good guitar (cf. Bob Dylan et al) than to be a good singer behind a bad guitar, and even more so than singing unaccompanied which really takes balls (or the female equivalent ;-)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: harvey andrews
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 02:05 PM

Mike of Northumbria makes valid points.Back in the 60's women didn't play guitars, it was still largely a male instrument. In England Joan Baez became a role model, then Julie Felix and women began to get up and sing and play.I remember Malvina Reynolds, Shirley Collins, Jeannie Robertson, Ma Campbell, the young Watersons,Dorris Henderson, Nadia Cattouse,Heather of the Young Tradition;(and others) all guesting at the Jug o Punch in the 60's. I ran a club for a few years in Birmingham in the 70's and we had a couple of floor singers who were female.One was in a duo "Hugh and Ros"...he's now an actor, Hugh Fraser, Poirot's sidekick Hastings!
In my 40 years of clubs I've only seen women encouraged and advancing until now I think there's probably as many female pros, semi-pros and pleasure singers as men. In audience terms it's always seemed 50/50 to me. Back then it was a darned good reason to go to a folk club.That's where you met the members of your tribe!!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 02:55 PM

Blackcatter: Likely you're exactly right but (and I also 'but' Dani-C and Watson) of the current and past club organizers - you might as well claim that marriage partners tend to be equally divided among the sexes, and for similar reasons - Which sex tends to handle announcements and singing and which food (and other "housekeeping") functions? Division of labo(u)r, role modeling, genetic predisposition & all that.

Re singing in the past era, I have experience of mid-60's Edinburgh where women certainly held their own. But there was and is still a strong tradition of female ballad-singing in Scotland. This leaked over into the clubs.

As to most of the names cited above, most are just pop, commercial singers with an acoustic label stuck on them. Their popularity depends on the same factors as any other pop singers - emotional impact and sexy presentation. This is not an definition of "folk" just a description of the presentation in an urban, commercial setting as opposed to a more traditional one (say, a country pub or kitchen table.)

Could be that the more commercial and/or demanding the 'act,' the more likely men are to be in successful at it and, therefore, in demand - same for philosophers, sports figures, actors, etc.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: JudeL
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 03:17 PM

Thank you dear Abbey the thought of Norma Waterson, Annie Fentiman or Hilary Spenser being thought of as "pop" singers who depend on "sexy presentation" for their popularity, that will keep bringing a smile to my face while I'm working tonight.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Padre
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 03:32 PM

During the 1980s, I sang with The Boarding Party and Rock Creek. One of our favorite clubs was the Branford (CT) club, which was run by Deborah Winograd. She was professional in every respect, and did a good job of bringing a wide variety of music to Branford.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 03:43 PM

How about sexy Jeanie Robertson? No, I wrote "most."   Actually, listening to Jeanie (or most of the Blair clan) or Norma W, there really often is a deep sexiness - a true Female earthiness to the singing & the song. Something that makes low-class strumpets of the rock singers.

Who's Hilary Spenser?   Never heard of her. Is she a ballad singer?


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: breezy
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 04:01 PM

so Fay ,does Jenny Scott enjoy her retirement?
give her my regards and tell her theres no more folk at the well park, so we'll session on the Quay come this Whitsun.
Say hello to Jim and Jenny.
Tell em me clubs doing O K., Tilston for October.
get em to read the mudcat and join the chit chat.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: harpgirl
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 05:46 PM

April Fool to you too Abby Sale!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST,Yodelady@stny.rr.com
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 06:13 PM

Many have speculated why there seem to be fewer female guitar players in history. It's hard to practice a fiddle or guitar with a baby on your lap, etc, etc.

I (a female) booked the Fo'c'sle in Southampton for 3 years in the 1990's. There seemed, at that time to be more male (white male with guitar) acts to choose from, but I consciously tried to vary the programme. There were also more men asking for floor spots. On singer nights (We were the first to call them "Anything Goes") women were always encouraged to participate. So, it wan't an issue, because all people were valued.

It has been my experience on both sides of the Atlantic that there are often more male musicians, especially in bluegrass. However, I have usually met with encouragement from most places, once they found out that I could sing. Except for those good at singing unaccompanied, it is a bit tricky to be so dependent on others to play the instruments for those who don't play. I wonder if there would be fewer men used to being dependent on others in that way, whereas throughtout history, women have been dependent on men. I have been spending more time practicing guitar lately, now that my children are growing, so I can more easily bring out a new song without worrying about who can back me up.

I guess we should talk about this in another 20 years and ask the next generation of folkies how they view things. A friend of mine's 11 year old girl could not beleive that just a few generation ago, women could be not be any prefession they chose. Things are changing for the better.

Debra


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 06:55 PM

springhopper: No, it's true - I really don't know who Hilary Spenser is.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 07:29 PM

She's a Yorkshire singer:

http://www.hilaryspencer.com/

She sings mostly modern material. Beware of the website; she's made the mistake of using absolute positioning, and it will probably look like crap if your display is set to an above-average resolution.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: harpgirl
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 08:58 PM

Abby, I was talking about your first post. You said women did the food and men did the finances...it's always worked better that way...I thought that was a very good April Fool's joke because surely you don't actually believe that!

Let me be the treasurer of your folk club and I will quadruple your treasury in one year! Of course, folk clubs never have more than $5 in their accounts, so it shouldn't be too difficult! hehehe


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Apr 03 - 10:51 PM

Well, I won't go into sexocalendarological cycles at this time. But next time I go to Blackcatter's club I know who will serve the potato chips and who will introduce singers.   

But I'll tell a nice story. One day in 1966 or 7 the Edin U Folk Soc (revivified now according to the website) decided it ought to elect some officers. I mentioned wistfully that I'd always wanted to be treasurer in primary school but nobody would ever elect me - they just didn't trust me. As it happened, as soon as the next meeting I didn't get to attend, they made me treasurer. (I think it was to spite me.) I can claim that I helped (with the energetic involvement of everyone else) turn the $5 account into many hundreds. We started a concert series which made a very little (on purpose) and a nightly folk show at the Fringe that earned piles no matter what.   That was great - we were able to bring in class acts, put all our best (not me) on stage, pay every folkie in town to do a few songs an drink as much beer as Edinburgh could provide. President Taylor did a marvelous job. There was enough money left over to pay (small amounts) to local singers regularly for the rest of the year at our weekly meetings. Many of those singers happily frequented our meetings and sang for free but we were then able to not only showcase put also a few quid in the pockets of some people who were trying to make it as singers. This great wealth was new and surprising to us all but I'm proud to say I would remind people (no objections by them) that our function was to "support and promote folk music" and we should shift as much as possible to the "non-us" singers. It was a pleasure to be able to. After, of course, a few beers.

But to the best of my rememory, there were only two non-us female singers. One of them played guitar. Lots of women played guitar in Philadelphia and NY and Cambridge (Mass) in the late 50's- early 60's.   Just not as well as the men. Basic strum, wimpy stuff.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Fay
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 07:11 AM

So, the main gist of what we've got so far,

There isn't/wasn't an imbalance.

More women are involved in playing/singing due to encouragement than they used to be.

Women aren't as good as men generally, why should it be different in singing?

Women are/were culturally trained to be more reserved than men so don't push themseleves forward as easily.

Women more prolific in the singing scene than the pub session scene. Poss. due to a social statement surrounding women going into pubs alone.

Women tend to be in a supportive role, doing the food/posters etc..

Women have a different repertoire which doesn't fit with the folk club scene.

The 'big' women in folk are of the sexy pop variety, not real folk singers.

Women don't/didn't play guitar as commonly as men so had to rely on accompaniment (usually by a man) or appear unaccompanied.

Women had to stay home and look after the house and kids.

Women's voices sound worse than men's when singing badly.

A lot of clubs were connected to colleges/universities which had a higher percentage of male students.

More men than women want to go out and sing in the evenings.

Any more for any more? what about the 'tone' of the evenings? were there male dominated conversations? political connotations which women weren't involved/interested in


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST,Mary Humphreys
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 08:00 AM

To answer Fay's summary of points made so far:

There was an imbalance in the 60s & 70s in Manchester. More men than women were involved in running clubs, singing & playing music. Not any more, as far as I can tell.

More women are involved in playing/singing due to encouragement than they used to be.
Not sure it is due to encouragement in most cases.Women feel freer to go into pubs and clubs on their own now. That gives them the choice of participating in the singing/music.

Women aren't as good as men generally, why should it be different in singing?
Where did you get that generalisation from? I would dispute that totally.

Women are/were culturally trained to be more reserved than men so don't push themselves forward as easily.
I won't argue with that one.

Women more prolific in the singing scene than the pub session scene. Poss. due to a social statement surrounding women going into pubs alone.
Possibly.I still don't like going into pubs alone, unless I am sure there will be someone I know in there.

Women tend to be in a supportive role, doing the food/posters etc..
Not that I am aware of.

Women have a different repertoire which doesn't fit with the folk club scene.
That is not true. There are many individual women singers who can entertain a club audience as well as any man. Janet Russell, Maggie Boyle, Ellen Mitchell, Alison MacMorland,Eliza Carthy, Isla St Clair, Peta Webb, Chris Coe, Sandra Kerr ... the list goes on.

The 'big' women in folk are of the sexy pop variety, not real folk singers.
Rubbish. Who are you talking about? See list above.

Women don't/didn't play guitar as commonly as men so had to rely on accompaniment (usually by a man) or appear unaccompanied.
Most of the women named above don't use a guitar for accompaniment. They play other instruments if they use accompaniment at all. The guitar is not a sine qua non of the folk performer.

Women had to stay home and look after the house and kids.
Good opportunity for trying out repertoire on kids and family. Many restrictions in life can have some positive outcomes.

Women's voices sound worse than men's when singing badly.
No. They sound as bad as each other.

A lot of clubs were connected to colleges/universities which had a higher percentage of male students.
True in the past. Not so sure now.

More men than women want to go out and sing in the evenings.
Pass.

Any more for any more? what about the 'tone' of the evenings? were there male dominated conversations? political connotations which women weren't involved/interested in
Why shouldn't women be involved/interested in political discussion? The state of the nation is as important to women as it is to men.
Most of my early years in folk music were based in and around highly politically active and motivated singers. Their enthusiasm communicated itself to me and their audiences. I didn't notice women complaining then. They don't now, in my experience.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Fay
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 08:14 AM

Just to make it clear...

The summary I put up above are not neccessarily my beleifs, just a summery of the points made by people so far.

Some of the more dramatic ones mainly came from Abby Sale, please revert to her postings for full(er) explanation.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 09:22 AM

"Just reading the thread title made me bristle." -- JennieO

Quite. And rightly so. I never thought that the roles were different in anything, but then I was brought up by a mother and great-great aunt (my father died when I was 5) who could wrestle a lumberjack and win while cooking dinner with the other hand and changing a diaper with their feet.

"Well, TRY it! You don't know if you can do it unless you try it!" -- My mother.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: JennyO
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 09:46 AM

Rapaire, I like the sound of your mother!

Never changed a diaper with my feet, though.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: harpgirl
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 09:54 AM

...for those of you who don't know Abby Sale is an old man with white hair and a craggy voice. Also, our dear Abby is quite sexist, it turns out. But we love him anyway.

Evidently his senses are failing, because he can neither hear nor see all the terrific female musicians on the folk scene today. But he was raised in the early part of this century, so let's give him a break. He can't rise above his raising'...LOL harpgirl


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: JudeL
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 10:10 AM

Mary, most of my objections to the list Fay put up you have already covered. The one point on which although I disagree with the implication that Fay draws from the point I would say is so, is that I believe that in general, there is a broad tendency for differences in the type of songs sung by women and men. I vehemently do NOT agree that this makes women singers less acceptable on the folk scene. Different does not mean inferior! Differences are what make life interesting. Another point I would throw into the pot is that perceptions of the status quo are coloured by a person's own internal view of the world which is affected by things like where and when they were young. A person who is old enough to be participating in the folk scene in the 60's is likely to see things in different terms than someone who was born in the 60's and the perspective of someone born in the 80's will be different again. The impact of involvement of different age groups is sometimes obvious but other times very subtle.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Abby Sale
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 01:19 PM

I do not have white hair!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Abby Sale
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 02:05 PM

Considering the best of all the world's ballad singers, there's a thread at Clicky on Scottish favorites. Note that male votes significantly outnumber votes for females. Nothing to do with me. Other's votes. Lotsa of votes for Jeanie there but the website collecting the tally doesn't even have her listed among the contenders. And not a single vote for Ray Fisher!

What more proof would you have?


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: open mike
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 02:38 PM

would someone please explain what a floor singer is?


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST,joe
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 03:49 PM

that's my harmonica case in my pocket, but i AM glad to see ya.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Marje
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 04:17 PM

Interesting thread, I've only just found it. My two-cents worth (not US, I'm getting ready for the euro)....

In music (tune) sessions, men still dominate by at least 4 to 1, sometimes 10 to 1. But I run a music session and my husband does the raffle, so the stereotype doesn't always hold. I also sing, so I can offer the following observations:

In "acoustic", contemporary clubs, (I'm talking of the UK here, can't speak for the US) the standard act is man-with-guitar. Women are very much outnumbered, and not taken seriously if they don't have a guitar (which most of them don't).

In traditional song clubs and singarounds where unaccompanied song is welcomed, women sing as much as men do. Women are often among the best singers - and, I have to say, the worst.

If you get a duo, it's much more likely that he plays and she sings than vice versa.

And (here's the most sexist bit...) - women are the ones who will keep the wheels running: they send e-mails, phone people up to remind them what's on, share words and tunes, make and circulate lists and calendars. Most of that stuff in our area is done by women - not women who are "servicing" male performers, but women who run things, promote things, offer lifts to gigs, perform in their own right, and make things happen. Even the mailshots etc. signed by males are often facilitated (or written) by females. The whole scene would collapse very quickly without women's contribution.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST,Benbow
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 05:33 PM

All very relevant comments by Mary Humphreys and I saw the same in Manchester in the 70s for sure.

Im guilty of not attending clubs and sessions enough nowadys so cant make a good contrast to things today but surely the balance is better and on the professional side the women are clearly strong.

A comment about the 60s 70s   I always felt that too many women singers restricted their repertoire too much towards the feminist cause. Im not saying they were wrong or right but always felt a good varied session with a few pointed strong 'message' songs worked better than a session all on the same theme and I saw too many where the women theme was overplayed. Its better now that sessions/clubs arent hijacked by a narrow interest group and good to see a better balance. Doesnt stop a message being put across.

Another comment when was the last thread that got so much input in such a shoer space of time ? It seems to have captured the imagination.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 06:32 PM

Open Mike: We tend to refer to any singer who is not the booked 'guest' or a club 'resident' as a 'floor singer' - a singer from the floor (because they often sound that way - miaow!).

Anyway, what about:
Jane and Amanda Threlfall
Emily Slade
Judy Dinning
Elizabeth van de Waal (sings with Anthony John Clarke)
Cathryn Craig
Sara Grey
Marie Little

The list goes on and on... we've plenty of fine singers (and instrumentalists) among the ladies. These days women aren't prepared to 'take a back seat' as they tended to in the past!

That said, folk club audiences do tend to be skewed more towards the single male, at least up here around Manchester UK. It's relatively rare to find women at a folk club who have no 'significant other'. In the 60s and early 70s the folk club was a place to go 'on the pull'. Not these days... and I should know... :-(


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: alison
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 07:35 PM

you forgot about me JennyO.... actually most of the Sydney clubs are either run or co-run by women

I run Toongabbie Music Club

we usually have more men than women, but if we all turned up on the same night it would make the numbers more even.......

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST,joe
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 08:09 PM

the role of women in folk music is the same as that of men, ie. to play the music & deliver the lyrics. yes, the guys get rough & butt heads & the girls maneuver, but it should be fun or there's no point. music, like the other arts, is sexually charged & it harmonizes our animal, spiritual & emotional instincts better than any other activity i know. so show us how to harmonize & the event has served its purpose.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 11:08 PM

I noticed over 30 years ago that the serious female songwriters could write material that left most male songwriters totally in the dust (with the exception of the odd standout, like Dylan or Cohen or Al Stewart or a few others I could mention). Joni Mitchell and Buffy Sainte-Marie were 2 of the early female singer-songwriters I would point to as absolute masters of the craft, and there has been an avalance of them since.

In the younger set that are playing the folk festivals now, I would say that the finest writers are more often females than males. The females write on a far wide variety of themes, with far more depth and subtlety, far better lyrics, far better just about everything. I find that a lot of men are capable of writing on about 3 or 4 well-worn paths (if that), and that's pretty well where it stops. The ladies don't usually have that problem. They're more mature in their grasp of life, and they write more mature material.

Of the 3 folk clubs in this area, I would say that females are predominant in the management of 2 of them, males in the case of the 3rd.

I've heard some comments in this thread that make me laugh out loud. cos they were out of date decades ago. Where, oh where have you been, O time-warped lads? The music business used to be dominated by the "old boy's club" and by male acts and male management. That's been steadily changing to an equal share for both genders, and it's a damned good thing.

By the way...I am a male songwriter and folksinger, and proud of it. Chew on that, you John Wayne anachronisms. You just don't know a good thing when you hear it.

- LH


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 03 Apr 03 - 10:09 AM

Possibly one factor that used to make some difference in the past, was that less women had their own transport and so getting to some of the more out of the way clubs could be tricky without a lift. Many women also don't like going into pubs on their own, and in the UK at least most folk clubs tend to run on licensed premises. Mind you for some women, folk clubs were attractive because it provided them with an excuse to go into pubs.

When I ran Blackheath Folk Club in SE London, I was always keen both to book female guests and would always try and make sure that any ladies got a floor spot.

BTW Breezy - Sheila used to go to the very early London Folk Clubs in the Folk & Skiffle days, and used to collect the money on the door of clubs like "The Enterprise". Her sister Simone, used to do the same at Catford Folk Club (Phoebus Awakes) which we both have happy memories of.

The 'big' women in folk are of the sexy pop variety, not real folk singers. Few if any of the ladies on the list which I gave, could be described in those terms (please don't take any offence girls). Several of them are/were source singers and many of their songs could rank as definitive versions.


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 03 Apr 03 - 10:29 AM

Addendum to above.

Many Club and Session organisers are female - sometimes working in partnership with men ie

Orpington Friday Folk
Polehill Arms
Sharps
Rainham
Dartford
Tudor Barn
The Anchor, Lewisham
The Cellar Upstairs
Musical Traditions


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: JennyO
Date: 03 Apr 03 - 11:47 AM

Sorry, Alison, didn't mean to leave you out. I was just seeing red at the time and posted quickly. Not just a folk club in your case, either. Festivals too! Yes, I would say that in Sydney, if it wasn't for us women, a whole lot of the folk scene would not be happening. I suspect we are particularly good at organising and taking care of the details, as well as our other obvious talents ;-)

Jenny


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Fay
Date: 03 Apr 03 - 01:14 PM

I'm glad this has taken off as such a well visited thread, and there are lots of different perspectives too.

Just goes to show what a mixed bunch this family of mudcatters are, and what differing memories or opinions of the same scene we all have.

Long live diversity - respect to all xx


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Gurney
Date: 04 Apr 03 - 03:23 AM

A couple of de-motivators that have been mentioned to me by ladies:

Hecklers. OK, it is usually goodnatured and between mates/buddies, but some ladies are apprehensive of it.

Learning the trade. It takes time to be known, and it can be a hungry time, sleeping on settees and saving pennies.

Constant travelling. Away from families and kids and friends.

Certainly, these apply to everyone making their way as a professional, but it may be that the gentle sex feels them more, generally. Do they, typically?


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: GUEST,noddy
Date: 04 Apr 03 - 10:12 AM

More women in folk .
but not more folking women.

Sounds better when you say it!


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Ely
Date: 04 Apr 03 - 05:01 PM

I suppose this depends partly on who are one's associates. The people I play with here (Houston, Texas, USA) include probably 60% women, depending on the venue (more for old-time music, less for Irish). The men tend to be better guitarists and mandolin-ists but the women frequently blow them away on most other instruments (harp, autoharp, both kinds of dulcimers, upright bass, Chinese pipa, etc). Banjo-players, fiddlers, and singers are about split down the middle. We don't have a problem with the "eye candy" syndrome--we're all pretty much equally unsexy. Women also play a huge part in starting and maintaining the organizations that promote traditional music. Most women musicians I know of write (or research) their own songs and play instruments well.

Of course, even those of us who pursue music professionally are not nationally-known, for the most part.

As far as club performances go, I would say it varies greatly with different individual clubs and different genres of music. Some of the barbecue joints and kicker bars in my neighborhood rarely, if ever, feature women performers. On the other hand, a lot of them do. It probably depends on what interests the clientele. The best pub in town features plenty of women and a big range of types of music. The smaller establishments feature whoever they can get just to draw in customers (and yes, some of them, men and women alike, suck).


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Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Apr 03 - 11:39 PM

Fay:

I think your recaps/summaries are excellent. I think that, since you raised the question, if you're satisfied with your understanding of the answers, then that's that. Clearly, there is much diversity and there was more in the 60's/70's. Also, clearly, the roles of the sexes have changed.

Recalling that our form of folk club only dates from the 1950's, there's been quite a lot of change. This is a natural evolution. Ebb & flow. Over the years-centuries-millennia the composition (demographics) of participants of many occupations & avocations has often changed. Street roller skaters are far more likely to be adults than children. Telephone operators were once 100% male; then 100% female; now, I suppose, 90% computers. Further, women take a more assertive role in much of life at this particular moment of time than they did 30 years ago. Generally there has always been a distinction of the tasks normal to each sex. The specific tasks have changed, though.

A hard answer for folk clubs could only be achieved with an extensive sociological study around the world of what men & women actually do in clubs as well as what they are perceived by other club members to be doing. Probably not worth it.

I was actually a respondent in a similar study several years ago. They were examining the breakdown of household decision-making in America. I thought our own household was pretty standard and I said so. I explained that my wife handled the day-to-day, routine household decisions and I had to take care of the important ones.   Well, they asked just which ones my wife handled.   I explained, you know, the easy routine ones - where to live, how many children to have, what kind of job I should take, how to handle our retirement planning - that stuff, the day-to-day things.   So they asked what decisions I made and I told them - the important ones. What sort? Well, who should be president, what should be taught in schools, whether to go to war, who should be in the European Union - that sort of thing.


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