Mudcat Café message #3264266 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141742   Message #3264266
Posted By: Suffet
27-Nov-11 - 11:30 AM
Thread Name: Occupy Folk Music! (USA)
Subject: RE: Occupy Folk Music! (USA)

In some instances that's true, but not in all cases. There are other times when program directors say things like "Our members would never come to hear [such and such]" when they have no basis for making such presumptions. For example, I once played a cut from the Bruce Springsteen Seeger Sessions CD for the program director of a folk club without saying who it was. The PD's reaction after only a few seconds was "Yuck. Take it off." Of course, if that club could have miraculously booked Springsteen, its members would have come in droves.

I admit that is an extreme example, so here are four more common ones:

Not considering young, up-and-coming performers until they have made it big -- and then claiming that those same performers have become too expensive. I actually saw this happen when the Carolina Chocolate Drops first appeared. Then after the CCD played Lincoln Center, I heard one member of a program committee complain that they were rather ordinary, and that there wouldn't be so much fuss if they weren't black!

Not considering performers whose music is of certain ethnic genres. For example, I have seen a traditional folk club which routinely presents international music (e.g. French, Scandinavian, Balkan) dismiss out of hand suggestions that they present traditional Latin American music (e.g. Puerto Rican bomba y plena, Mexican corrido, Brazilain fado). The reasons? "They have their own clubs." "Our members don't like that stuff." "There's too much of that crap on the radio."

Taking such a very narrow view of what is folk music, that that a club cuts itself off from anything new and exciting. If you mention Brother Sun, Uncle Earl, or Gathering Time to these program directors, they have no idea whom you are talking about.

Saying they are not interested in singer-songwriters, unless it is singer-songwriters they personally approve of! These are the people who tell you that their club is strictly for traditional folk music, but then present Bill Staines. "Well," they explain, "he writes in the tradition." Oh really? What exactly does "writing in the tradition" mean? Most of the time I believe it is simply another way of saying, "I really like the stuff he or she writes."

--- Steve