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Will Fly Where Have all the Folkies Gone (187* d) RE: Where Have all the Folkies Gone 08 Feb 19

People arrive at their particular musical destination by many varied routes and for their own personal reasons. Traditional music - meaning both songs and tunes - is no different. My own route to traditional music, covering a period of 50+ years, has been through the music itself - intriguing chord progressions, dozens and dozens of beautiful melodies, the joy of playing these melodies with other musicians - rather than through songs. Just the way it was and is. I'm less interested in folk songs or ballads and stories in song form, and I'm not interested in them as social documents. I'm very interested in social history, mainly through family history research, but not that of the folk songs.

So - an example of disinterest in folk song, I suppose.

By contrast, three of us sat round a table in a quiet pub in Shoreham-on-Sea (West Sussex) on Wednesday night last - guitar, tenor guitar, fiddle and mandolin - and for two and a half hours without a break went through about 25-30 tunes. Lovely traditional tunes and a few contemporary tunes written in the idiom by excellent players like Andy Cutting and Chris Wood. A glorious evening, with no cash, but free beer provided by the landlord, who loved it. And this points up the divergence between folk songs and folk tunes. The latter, unlike the former, can seamlessly incorporate the old and the modern without any infighting about it being "folk" or not - they're just tunes. The "folk process" in fact, as local variants of those tunes thrive. So we can pair "Jacky Tar" and "The Flowers Of Edinburgh" just as easily as we can pair "Trip To Pakistan" with "Glen Kabul", or "Tripping Up Stairs" with "Jump At The Sun". No problems whatsoever - and the music thrives, judging by the number of places round here where we can get to play it.

We can bewail an apparent disinterest in folk song - and disinterest in any form of music will strike from time to time over the years - but other forms of traditional music are very much alive and well.

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