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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Will Fly, on the hoof 1954 and All That - defining folk music (994* d) RE: 1954 and All That - defining folk music 23 Mar 09

As far as I'm concerned, our folk process is now finished...Of course there's nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from the material to create new songs - it would be as irrelevant to modern life as 'The Sealed Knot' or historic 'war game' recreation if this didn't happen - an exercise in romantic nostalgia. But let's not mix up the two; we're observers, beneficiaries and documentors of a folk tradition, not a part of the process.

I'm not clear what your message is here, Jim. The folk process is "finished", but we can still draw inspiration from the material to create new songs - as MacColl did, presumably?If those songs are then transmitted, sung differently, adapted perhaps, changed over time, then the "process" continues. Difficult, perhaps, in an age where everything is documented, recorded, filmed and set in stone.

If the folk process is finished and the body of songs that we have is complete, unchangeable, and signed, sealed and delivered - then why sing them at all? We don't have the background or the personal experience or authority to deliver them with honesty and conviction, presumably? So why don't we accept that modern songwriters who bring their work to clubs and singarounds are offering something modern, and just get on with it?

I personally like a wide variety of music - including much from the tradition as you describe it, and lots besides. You give the impression that, as far as you're concerned, the book has been written, the subject is closed - and that's that, folks. So what are you telling us to do? We're not part of the "process" any more - television and the media has seen to that - and we don't have the background or the involvement, being office workers and not horny-handed sons of the soil, to deliver the stuff honestly. I get the impression - and correct me if I'm wrong - that nothing we can do, as performers will now ever be right.

I was singing "High Germany" last Saturday night - in my own way and as best as I could. What have I to do with the tradition that passed that song on? What have I to do with the circumstances in which it was transmitted? Perhaps I should stop singing it - it's pointless, isn't it? - and just concentrate on Fats Waller stuff instead. I know where that came from...

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