Mudcat Café message #3681024 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #156167   Message #3681024
Posted By: GUEST,Rahere
29-Nov-14 - 02:28 PM
Thread Name: radio 4 how folk songs should be sung
Subject: RE: radio 4 how folk songs should be sung
What I'm reviving is the thought that as performers, we have a tale to tell, which needs more than just a dull "next" introduction stringing the songs together, the best performances have a thread running through them. Robin Williamson is a case in point, he engages with the audience in a way which takes them on board and only releases them at the end. It doesn't have to be something deep and meaningful, we can achieve a lot by demonstrating the folly of the world, or what you will. But a simple catalogue of songs does nobody any service, the music least of all.

It was Ewan above all who started us on that track, crossing the boundaries of the theatre. Steeleye's 1974 Tour, for example, introduced a multimedia film performance into the set. This might have headed in the direction of a more integrated performance, meeting up with the Concept Album, had it not been for the overthrow of performer autonomy which happened in 1976-7 with the imposition of punk and hip-hop.

It is slowly returning though: Marvellous Machines, written by Andy Mellon and Pete Flood and performed by most of Bellowhead, earlier this year, was above all else a concept piece. A weird one, but one none the less.

So, at the simplest - and simple is good - we don't just sing the song, we perform it, we colour it to tell a tale. What that tale is is partly in the song, and partly in what we decide to do with it.

Andd then there's the question of grabbing the audience...