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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Frank Hamilton How can we make folk music more apealing (121* d) RE: How can we make folk music more apealing 06 Oct 99

M Ted, I think we can do this. Let's talk about the Kolos written in 1999. Are they written by tambouritzan players or singers in that tradition? Are they widely known in the Croatian community as traditional? Did anyone learn this song from their parents or grand parents? Or in fact are they modeled after the folk music of Croatia in which they might be called a song in the "folk music style" without being an authentic folk song which is handed down from preceding generations? What song are we talking about here? And finally, are all kolos traditional folk music? You've written a kolo and that's fine. A person could have written an Elizabethan song or a Missippi Delta blues but would that be authentic folk music? Would it be part of that tradition? Would it have withstood the test of time? I don't think so.

Example: Ruz Marin (the Rosebush) has roots in the Croation tradition. It has variants found in different parts of the area. Makedenko Kolo is a variant of the Greek Samiotissa, (Girl from Samos). Both variants have been around for a while and have been used in folk dance circles. No one author/composer can be identified here.

Did Stan Rogers ever write a sea chantey that was used on shipboard as a halyard, capstan, long-haul or any other viable work-related song? If so,where did he learn it from? Where's the generational connection?

Grunge music was a trend, concocted by young rockers as a fashion statement. It was not generational and based on much but a show business point of view. It was a rebellious image created to appeal to this in young people. Definitely not generational. No viable predecessor with the exception of popular music forms in rock and roll.

Art music, classical, jazz et. al. may influence folk music and vice versa but they are still different forms from folk music. The tune for "Twinkle Little Star" was written by Mozart but survives as a folk song because it is generational and has many lyric variants. However it's connection to a unified sub-cultural group, (not a manufactured one for the music industry) is tenous. Still the tune survives although it's hardly attributable to Mozart these days. Louis Armstrong's early jazz music is closely related to folk music because of the cultural music roots that it emanated from. Maybe not the tunes themselves which were composed by early songwriters. St. Louis Blues was written in a "folk style" but Handy had some connection to the tradition of this stevadore work song so he wrote it in a "folk style". The tune and the lyric of the first part of the song has been used in traditional blues verses and hollers. Louis trumpet style has a lineage of musical elements that might be called traditional folk. The early brass bands of New Orleans had a connection to a generational culture that employed an amalgam of early blues, hymns, creole and hispanic elements that were learned by the player's forebears. I think that this is a key issue.

George, this is why I don't believe in modern folk songs. There may have been a tradition of football songs that have been handed down from preceding generations. Perhaps some of those songs have been around to qualify as folk songs but I'd be skeptical here. Certainly I'm not skeptical about Scarborough Fair. I think we can agree that this is a folk song because it has withstood the "test of time" and has many different variants. And we don't know who wrote it do we? (We know it wasn't Paul Simon).:)

Personally M Ted, I would'nt call many Hapa Haole songs folk songs because many of them were composed by Tin Pan Alley composers but the musical style of singing or playing them might be characteristic of a Hawaiian musical folk tradition. Slack key guitar certainly has venerable roots in earlier forms of Hawaiian music. There is a generational connection here.

George, I don't think modern civilization's technology extends world-wide. There are some cultures in the world that have never used a computer. Folk cultures existed when the Wright Brothers were flying airplanes and even today they may flourish where we least expect them to. Rap music may be a case in point. Also, the form of "break dancing", even "tapping" which could be related to earlier tap and clogging forms which have roots in other antecedent dances. Who invented "break dancing"? Who started the "tapping" craze? Did it stem from earlier clogging and tap dance teams? I think so.

I've said enough for the moment. Let's pursue this.

Frank Hamilton

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