Mudcat Café message #4016528 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166789   Message #4016528
Posted By: Jim Carroll
01-Nov-19 - 04:14 AM
Thread Name: The current state of folk music in UK
Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
I have to say you weer right to a degree to say I didn't know the full situation of the local libraries in Britain - so I looked it up, and was horrified to see the level they have been driven too by the Government's..... - some would say 'neglect' but I believe it's more deliberate that that - one of the tenets of the Slave Trade was that it is dangerous to educate those you would dominate
I'm grateful for the education

That aside, it doesn't stop any enterprising group from going higher up and attempting to involve the County or even National libraries in folk song, as we did in Clare
This is an example of what might be attempted, instigated by two friends, Michel Fortune and Aileen Lambert, from Wexford

Mick and Aileen devised a number of projects, got together groups of singers, (good but not necessarily widely known and certainly not professional performers), approached The National Library of Ireland, who agreed to sponsor them in taking their work around venues in various parts of Ireland at irregular intervals (not a 'tour') and putting on mini-concerts to schools and colleges.
Each one had an increasingly positive effect, the best know and most successful was the 'Man Woman and Child' Project
The immediate effect was the marked increase in the singing of Child Balllads in clubs and sessions, almost unheard of previously.
I was inspired to fulfil a long-time intention of gathering all the Child Ballads that had been captured from the older generation of singers - I've now been working on it for over two years and am hoping to finish it in the next few months
Then I will get all the example I have found, get singers for the ones from print, and pass them on to whoever is interested (probably via PCloud, but I ham hoping that ITMA might consider putting them on line for me

I see no reason why similar projects can't be taken, say to The National Sound Archive at the British Library and try to win their interest
The British Library has, at long last, shown an interest in folk song, thanks to pioneers like Lucy Duran who herself a renowned field worker
This would fit in perfectly with the B.L's putting collections of folk song and music on line, as it has been doing for some years now.

It needs to be confined to folk song as documented and not "I don't know what folk song is" wishy-washiness, which will give it roots in the academic world while at the same time showing the 'entertainment' value of the people's culture.
Its aim should not be to provide work for established singers, but to give the job to folkies who are there for the love and promotion of songs, not for earning a wage or making their name - hopefully there are enough competent and dedicated singers to put together such schemes without them costing a fortune -
Groups could be put together in various parts of Britain rather than them being centralised in London and having to travel to the venues - but they would need to be well-co-ordinated
By using non-stars you would be introducing songs showing you don't have to have been singing before audiences for years - every man and woman a singer (if they work at it)
Mick and Aileen's work did much to increase folk song nationally in Ireland - I wonder if anybody had such dedication in Britain

Ideally, EFDSS not only could, but should do it - I doubt if they would be interested
I thought of broaching the idea with The Traditional Song Forum when we were in Belfast a couple of weeks ago but didn't get the chance.
Something needs to be done, and quick, if Britain is not going to lose its greatest cultural asset
Jim Carroll