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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Ian What is the future of folk music? (258* d) RE: What is the future of folk music? 23 Mar 10


Very interesting debate.

I totally agree with Ray Padgett where he reckons the quality of younger musicians has improved over the last 30 years. The taking of folk "roots" into fields where a larger audience will get the chance to listen is something that has always gone on, and always will do.

As a teenager who was in a rock band and at the same time enjoying nights at folk clubs, I was bemused yet pleased to hear Thin Lizzie's Whiskey in the Jar, or Led Zeppelin's Gallow Pole (not to mention Sandy Denny on Battle of Evermore.)

Elvis Costello writes songss about subjects that tick every box for me, (as well as starting out in folk clubs,) and of course, you cannot use music for social comment without being called folk, (Billy Bragg etc.)

So, the future of folk music OR as I suspect many will interpret the question... the future of the folk scene as it has lasted for the last 40 years +.

I was at a party last year, where old friends from over the years turned up. I am touching 50, yet just as when I was a teenager, I was the youngest performer on the night.

That is what is at stake here. The question being, "do you convince people that the "format" of an evening of folk music is part of the culture, or do you bring the music to another way of presenting it?

I don't mean this badly, although it will come over so, I am sure. But the mental image of woolly jumpers, beards, sandals and real ale fascism is an image that prevails outside of folk clubs. Perhaps many people love the music (or would if they heard it) but don't feel part of an existing culture? I have a beard, drink bitter rather than lager and don't mind listening to an office worker singing about how hard it is down the mine... But my son, (an ex miner like myself) would probably record it on his phone and upload it to utube as an example of British eccentricity.

Perhaps a thread about the future of folk music also needs a different thread about the future of British folk delivery over the last 40 odd years. Because like many fine traditions, it may only last as long as those who perpetuate it.


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