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Jim Carroll uk folk clubs high standard (356* d) RE: uk folk clubs high standard 30 Apr 19


"Did the ancient elite who, according to Child, wrote the oldest ballads perform them in 'clubs'? I think not. "
Totally immaterial
There was no elite, from what I can gather - people sang and made songs at social gatherings - In Ireland it wwas at specifically organised events (house dances, crossroads dances, m cuirds (pro. coors) where neighbours would meet in each others homes to sing, play, dance, tell stories, swap news....
Singing was often a small (and sometimes not very welcome) part of a house or crossroads dance - it was considered an interruption to the proceedings by some dancers and the singers often found it restrictive and difficult to get the necessary attention for sometimes long songs among a group of socialising people, there for pleasure

Sam Larner once spoke about the singing that went on at his local, The Fisherman's Return and at the fishermen's singing competitions when they met up in strange ports - he told Charles and Ewan, "the serious singing was done at home or at sea"   (where the singers could get quiet and attention)
I know from interviewing singers that it was sometimes at these small gatherings that songs were made - we have descriptions of them doing so
Ieland has a huge, largely unexplored repertoire of locally made songs made to cover local events as they occurred, from ambushes during the War o Independence, to local drownings, shipwrecks... to drunken pub crawls and comments on the railway service.

Those days are long gone - the clubs were a compromise to fill their loss and they worked - you have hi-jacked them and robbed folk song of an important platform - that's what you need to address
These are just the type of evasive wiggles politicians make when they don't want to face facts

I was there at the fall of the clubs - my visits to them declined rapidly from sometimes five times a week to, eventually the two I was involved in where I knew I would hear folk songs instead of the somewhat superficial stuff that was being passed off as folk
The editor of 'Folk Review' wrote and article on the declining state of the clubs which was taken up over several issues and spread from noisy audiences and seedy premises to lowering standards of performance and non folk songs

How people organise their clubs is their own business - hopefully they do so to suit local circumstances
The one constant used to be that you went to a folk club to hear folk songs or songs that have been made using folk styles
The festivals I went to were usually showcases for the best - I heard Jeannie, and The Stewarts, and some of the greats there, but on the whole, I found them impersonal, uncomfortable, and often cliquish - they were never a substitute for the clubs

You really do need to address the damage that has been done by using folk clubs as a cultural dustbin - stop making excuses
Jim Carroll


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