Mudcat Café message #3177901 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138735   Message #3177901
Posted By: John P
28-Jun-11 - 03:34 PM
Thread Name: Do purists really exist?
Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
In my mind, there are purists who know what a folk song is, how it was originally done, what the context is, etc. And that's what they like. I love 'em, as long as they don't try to tell others how to play music.

Then there are purists who want to tell you all about it if you are doing it "wrong". Maybe purist isn't the right word for that. Perhaps we need a qualifier, like purist asshole.

So -- I'm a purist in that I want to hear traditional folk music if that's what I've been led to expect. I know the difference, and expect people who claim to be playing it to know the difference as well. I'm not a purist in that I don't care if my trad music is played on 400 year old instruments or electric guitars or whatever, as long as the musicians are any good and believe in what they're playing. Again, I know the difference between historical performance and living tradition and like both.

What I want to know is why are 'non-purists' so sensitive about the possibility of being criticised by 'purists'?

I once played a Bulgarian padushka at the end of the first set. As usual, several members of the audience came up during the break to talk about the music and look at the odd instruments. I was in the middle of a very nice chat with a fellow when a loud and irritated-sounding voice cut in to say, "I hope you don't go around telling people you play Balkan music. That's not how they do it!"

I don't know if sensitive is the right word. Pissed off covers it better.