Mudcat Café message #1999019 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99963   Message #1999019
Posted By: Richard Bridge
16-Mar-07 - 05:35 PM
Thread Name: It isn't 'Folk', but what is it we do?
Subject: RE: It isn't 'Folk', but what is it we do?
I am rather disappointed by the turn the thread has taken. What one likes is subjective, and cannot be prescribed. What it IS, however, is a matter of definition - or of meaning.

These days, at least in the UK, there are few venues that require "folk music only". I gather NTMC used to be like that, and Peacehaven. Slats mentioned to me the other evening that his then band were once booked by a club - and turned up with double bass, 12-string, piano accordian and violin, their usual lineup, only to be told that the club had known only of their unaccompanied work and had a club rule of "no instruments". They did an evening as guests doing only unaccompanied song.

The point of seeking a new definition was to clarify the implication that a "folk club" would permit only "folk music". It was to prevent the unwarranted (I thought) inference of unworthiness of music that was not "folk".

So, a "folk club" might expect only folk music. A (whatever) club might expect music within the broader ambit of the new coinage. A "country music club" might expect only country music. A reggae open mic might be adversely surprised when an "oi" band (which is very different from an "oy" band) took the stage.

This had nothing to do with claims to primacy - indeed part of the idea was to avoid the implication that one form of music was better than another merely because the latter fell outside the definition of the former, and I think some early posters took that idea on board.

It does however follow that some types of music are not relevant to other types of music. Scandinavian death metal is not relevant to barbershop, and might not expect to be represented in an exposition of the latter.

If we had a new expression - like "new country" - it would be axiomatic that a "Folk" club" was about "Folk" music, and a "Whatever" club was about "Whatever" music, and expressions like "Real Folk" would not be needed so the implication that "Real Folk" was superior to "Whatever Music" would not arise.

This may have been part of what Shimrod was seeking to convey, and I think, Peace, that you may have found an unintended meaning - indeed one that was not really even implied. If I create an "obnig" music club, it is going to be about "obnig" music, not Neapolitan opera. Those who wish to perform the latter should not be surprised if they are treated as intruders at an obnig club.