Mudcat Café message #2266953 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2224   Message #2266953
Posted By: TheSnail
19-Feb-08 - 08:25 PM
Thread Name: What is a Folk Song?
Subject: RE: What is a Folk Song?
Jim Carroll

Damn - the Cap'n pipped me on my Magic Roundabout joke.

I suppose that, given that my name is Bryan and I have given myself the nickname TheSnail, I should really have seen the Magic Roundabout jokes coming. Silly of me. Not sure where the magic mushrooms come in although they might go nicely with a packet of frozen fish fingers.

The stuff about the Travellers' song making sounds fascinating but my point is that, at the time they were first sung, they were not folk songs according to the 1954 definition because they had not then been passed down through the oral tradition and altered by it. They were still being sung by the same people, in the same environment as the "real" folk songs so what were they?

Ewan was never a deep-sea fisherman, miner, roadworker, Traveller, railway worker, boxer....

So what? Were Tam Lin or Matty Groves written from personal experience?

he [MacColl] was not writing for his community, but for the folk song revival. As far as I know, the people of Beckenham never took the songs up and made them their own.

Arguably, his community was the folk song revival. Did he sing to the good people of Beckenham?

My community, where the vast majority of my friends live, consists of the folk clubs and song and tune sessions where I spend a lot of my time. I am not a singer but I learn tunes from others, perhaps with a little help from printed music and recordings but they are part of the extended community in modern times.

My point about the LAFC not crashing in flames was that an aeroplane that is not designed according to the laws of aerodynamics is doomed; a folk club which takes no notice of the Sao Paulo definition can carry on with no trouble.

I do not in any way object to newly written songs being sung at folk clubs; using the traditional forms to make new songs was what it was all about for me

I am glad we can agree on something. I think that most people involved in the current folk scene are happy to call those new songs folk songs. What do you call them?