Mudcat Café message #3187298 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138735   Message #3187298
Posted By: theleveller
14-Jul-11 - 06:34 AM
Thread Name: Do purists really exist?
Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
"If only they'd stay in the graveyards, leave the arts centres and folk clubs and BBC2 for sentient human beings."

This seems to highlight the difference of how we perceive folk music. For me, the context is crucial. I'd much rather sing for my own amusement in a place that has a resonance to the music, or with a couple of like-minded people, than perform it to an audience from a stage. Nowadays, it seems, the emphasis is all too often on performance rather than context, with performers looking more for quantity of audience than quality of individual experience. The music can change perceptibly when it is taken out of, say, a singaround in a local pub or what Suibhne calls 'feral' performances (and I call ruffian music), and is honed and perfected to provide a slick, uniform presentation for mass consumption. Now, all too often, the goal seems not to be the integrity of the music but getting your photo on the cover of fRoots. That's fine, but it doesn't mean that the grassroots 'artisan' side of the music has lost its relevance.

Don't get me wrong I love watching professional performers, but prefer smaller, more intimate venues where there is a rapport with the audience (last weekend's Moonbeams Festival was a perfect balance, with artists like John Jones of Oysterband jumping off the stage to mingle with the audience and later joining in the late-night singaround).

So don't knock the solitary singer in his/her own little world. I'm just reading Peter Ackroyd's biography of William Blake and am surprised to find that the works which now have worldwide acclaim were often produced in editions of single figures individually printed, hand-coloured and bound. Very few people 'got' Blake at the time, but how things have changed.