Mudcat Café message #3180426 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138735   Message #3180426
Posted By: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
02-Jul-11 - 06:14 PM
Thread Name: Do purists really exist?
Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
(I had this ready to post earlier today but Mudcat went down, so, after a diverse cultural day in Manchester - inclusing CDs of Alfred Deller Folk Songs, Caravan Live and the Fairfield Halls, the new Gillian Welch album and a few other oddments...)

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No one's suggesting one Folk Music can possibly be another, just that, empirically, Folk Music is a heading for any number of styles of music - everything from the Transylvanian Dance House (calm down Goth Clubbers!) to the Northumbrian coal house (close that door on the way out, will you?). Like I say, Folk is a matter of different Idioms the word o'er and was, initially anyway, defined by academic outsiders. These days the considerations are a little different with everyone from The International Folk Music Council (now the International Council for Traditional Music) to Folk Roots (now fRoots) downplaying the Folk Factor owing to uncertainty of definition, or association, or both, or more besides, though it could well change as Folk regains credibility but not on account of Purism - on the contrary, more on account of Marling & Mumford et al!

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I'd agree with what ripov says too; Folk Music in the context of The Colonial Revival has very little to do with its Popular (As In People) Roots, much less the music of The Folk today, but it is really is too early in the morning to stomach that particular can o' worms. I'm content that, these days, by and large, Folk Music is far from Popular (in both senses of the word) though I did smile when I heard Bellowhead booming through from the hi-fi of my clubbing non-folkie neighbours next door (although they were recently thrown out by their landlord for lowing the tone!). That said, I doubt they'd be any more inclined to become regulars at our local baby-boomer folk club, any more than buyers of the Fisherman's Friend CD, or any one those thousands sure to be enjoying The Wilsons at The Proms this year.

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Is the Folk Mission an aspect of this Purism we hear about? Time and time again here on Mudcat (where the vast majority of the music discussed, fawned over and ignored is not, strictly speaking, Folk at all if we follow the letter o' my lady's law) we hear someone talking about Our Kind O' Music. It's a Religious thing, one of many Religious things about Folk which make me feel that it's a Religion (to misquote Laura Nyro - looks like music, feels like a religion...) with people feeling the need to Convert others to the Cause. I often say (only because it's true) that you have to walk many miles in the Real World before you meet a Folkie, which is fair enough, but you meet an awful lot of Folks, each of whom have their own unique experience of life, the universe, and everything, music included, which is bound to contain a little Folk, be it Riverdance, Celtic Woman, Fisherman's Friends...