Mudcat Café message #915318 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #57624   Message #915318
Posted By: Frankham
21-Mar-03 - 09:32 AM
Thread Name: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
Subject: RE: Do you need to *believe* what you sing?
To me, context is everything. Why are you singing it?
We tell our audience that history presents the facts of what is was like to live in that time. Songs present the feelings of the people of that time.

Do I believe the words of "The Bonny Blue Flag"? No. But we sing it because it tells us something about the nature of the American Civil War. Same goes for "Unreconstructed Rebel".

There are a lot of songs that do not reflect my personal philosophy of life that we call folk songs. Songs of violence, murder, protest, anger, revenge, misfortune, sadness, and happiness and funny songs all that reflect the range of the emotions of people.
These are important not because you believe wholeheartedly in the message or it reflects your "deep philosophy, religion or convictions about life" but that it is as Shakespeare says, "A mirror to reality".
That's what good theater is about. The actor doesn't believe he is the character he portrays but he gives us an insight into another's world. This is good because we begin to suspend our judegements of people and allow their views to be heard. We can comment on them.

When we sing "Flag of blue, white and red, a man's got a right to earn his bread", we present it as an anti-union song and the way certain workers felt about being forced into taking sides. I personally am pro-union for the most part, particularly when it comes to the rank and file, not the execs. But in order to understand what it means to be pro-union, I believe that it's necessary to show the other side and let it be as convincing as it wants to be.

This is the case for me when it involves religious songs as well. How can you understand a play-party song unless you understand the music of a hard-shell Baptist?

A great actor is showing us humanity. It's the "mirror of truth" to reality.

This is an important thread because it means that people who listen to these songs can learn to appreciate them.

Sorry to be so long-winded but I think it's important to explain why we sing folk music.

Frank Hamilton