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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones the uk folk revival in 2019 (330* d) RE: the uk folk revival in 2019 13 Oct 19

"If there is a case to answer that folk song proper has been exorcised out of the present folk revival, then it is not only acceptable but is essential that it is discussed, if possible, by a friendly and intelligent exchange of ideas, no matter how firmly and passionately put."

The difficulty is, Jim, that you seem to be the only person who believes that folk song has been "exorcised out". Whenever this is discussed plenty of people come along to show that this is not true and that folk song proper remains at the core of the current folk revival.

Of course there will be some venues where that is not true, but this was always the case, as your description of the different types of folk club that could once be found in Manchester shows. It may be that some venues describing themselves as "folk clubs" permit to wide a range of music and should more properly be called open-mics. That is unfortunate, but the term is not protected like an appellation controlee and there is nothing to be done to prevent this. At any venue it is ultimately the audience which decides what it is willing to listen to. Taking the scene as a whole, however, I still see traditional folk at the heart of it.

It may be that you don't like the way that traditional songs are now being interpreted. However the folk scene has always gone its own way, from Cecil Sharp's piano arrangements to the guitars of the 60s and 70s and the variety of instruments used today. On the other hand, I would say there is now much greater interest in traditional styles, and people now have much easier access to archive recordings, than when I started out, when we assumed that apart from the Coppers all the folk singers had died out at the time of Cecil Sharp. We took our influences from revival performers, not from the sources.

It is a pity that folk music has dropped out of most people's consciousness, except as something to be sneered at. Nevertheless the revival carries on and it has adapted to meet changes in society. It is unsurprising that the older generation thinks things were better back in its day, but things have to change. There is a younger generation which is enthusiastically and passionately involved with folk music, including traditional music, and who will carry it forward.

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