Mudcat Café message #1999408 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99963   Message #1999408
Posted By: Jerry Rasmussen
17-Mar-07 - 07:57 AM
Thread Name: It isn't 'Folk', but what is it we do?
Subject: RE: It isn't 'Folk', but what is it we do?
Interesting how much important this issue seems to be in England. Last year, I led a workshop titled Church And Street Corner Harmony, showing the black gospel roots of doo wop. My friends in an a capella doo wop group and my gospel quartet split the program. I've also noticed that Doo Wop is being sung informally at more and more folk festivals. I suspect that it would never be sung at a folk festival or folk club in England. The Doo Wop group, The Persuasions have also performed at folk clubs here. Doo Wop would most likely not fit the definition of many Catters in Europe, and yet it has many of the qualities of folk music: It came out of local communities where people sang with simple accompaniment, or unaccompanied. The singers were rarely professionally trained and singing occurred as a natural part of community life. I'm not making a case to call Doo Wop folk music... just that people seem a little more relaxed over here about labels. To me, it doesn't matter whether someone calls it folk. I wouldn't. I'd call it Doo Wop, just as I'd call Blues "Blues" and Gospel "Gospel." I can't even imagine going to a club or coffee house to hear someone just on the basis that they were doing "folk" music. It would be like saying to my wife, "Honey, do you want to go hear a concert of classical music?" As long as someone's music is adequately described. that's all I need to decide whether I'd like to hear them or not.

Jerry