Mudcat Café message #2546053 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116964   Message #2546053
Posted By: Jack Blandiver
22-Jan-09 - 10:29 AM
Thread Name: Why folk clubs are dying
Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
Perhaps there is, or was, a slice of the folk club audience for whom giving up the clubs was easier than giving up the beer.

On doctors orders I can only drink two pints a night, twice a week, maximum, and those four pints I'll drink whilst at a folk club - a singaround, session, or whatever. The pub is the natural habitat for a music that I never could take entirely sober anyway, nor yet too far removed from the context in which I first encountered it, or where it seems to be at its happiest - I love old pubs as much as I love the old songs. I dare say the smoking thing is a bit of a pain too - I gave up smoking myself back in 2000 and as a consequence stopped going to folk clubs for a full five years (thus missing out on the Boden Years at The Colpitts in Durham). I can't say I missed it too much, if at all, but back then Rapunzel was working shifts & we were living in a merry world of earlies, lates, nights and days off entirely out of synch with the rest of humanity. Rapunzel returning to a regular working life coincided with me finding my citera which gave me reason enough to want to start singing in folk clubs again.

Almost four years on and we're still in the habit - always seeking out new places to simply sing (rather than perform, which is less important to us), and finding plenty to keep us happy with respect of informal singarounds and suchlike, but aware that as traddies we are very much in the minority. Maybe that's why certain comments here irk me so much, regarding what I think of as a preciously indigenous idiom as oppose to the invariably American stylings of your average singer-songwriter, whose voices are just as effected as any traditional singer* you're ever likely to hear, if not more so. There are idioms, and there are conventions, but I regard it of supreme importance to sing in your own voice in celebration of the idiosyncratic human essence that is the heart and soul of traditional song - personal taste notwithstanding of course, which is something else altogether, though it is here we find the zealous negativity that will, I fear, be a contributing factor to the death of the thing entirely.

*I regard anyone who sings a traditional song as a traditional singer; source, revival, neo-revival, wyrd, experimental or otherwise. Maybe I've lost the ability to discriminate, or no longer see any good reason in doing so. If you love the music, then that's what you are; it's the love that qualifies you to sing in an idiom which is very much about the individual voice, irrespective of the hullabaloo which only serves to exclude.