Mudcat Café message #3184300 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138735   Message #3184300
Posted By: GUEST,Howard Jones, who really must reset his cook
09-Jul-11 - 09:55 AM
Thread Name: Do purists really exist?
Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
I didn't get into folk music because of some academic definition, or because of its class origins or political associations. I discovered a genre of music which I could relate to - and importantly, which I could play at a time when I had barely mastered three chords on guitar. That music was labelled "folk", which at that time still meant mainly traditional music (or rather the revival interpretation of it), although confusingly it also covered another genre which seemed to have little in common other than usually being accompanied with acoustic guitar.

As I mentioned in a previous post, these two did drift apart for a while, more as a result of natural selection than club policies - people naturally gravitated towards the clubs whose music they preferred. More recently they seem to have come together again, and the "folk" tag seems to have become even wider. I have a BBC Folk Awards album on which one of the instrumental tracks not only shows no relationship to traditional melodic structures but the instrumentation and manner of performance bears no relationship to either traditional or the usual revival styles. It's not bad music, but I can see nothing about it to justify labelling it "folk".

We all seem to be able to agree that "traditional" music is "folk". We may find that hard to define, but I don't think that's as important as is made out - I can't define an elephant, but I know one when I see it. It seems to be the people who want other styles of music also to be called "folk" who complain most loudly about "purists" trying to keep them out, but I have to question their motives for wanting to be included.