Mudcat Café message #923648 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58358   Message #923648
Posted By: Mary Humphreys
01-Apr-03 - 12:15 PM
Thread Name: womens role in folk clubs
Subject: RE: womens role in folk clubs
Breezy: when we come to your club you can have tunes by the furlong!Promise!
On the thread topic: I well remember the sixties and early seventies. There were fewer women singers around in my (then) neck of the woods - Manchester and later Hull. I never felt in folk clubs that I was marginalised. Rather, I felt supported by my colleagues in the folk song movement - particularly Jim Carroll, Barry Taylor, Terry Whelan and Harry Boardman who were around at the time. They encouraged my interest and involvement hugely. I can't thank them enough! They were supportive in my endeavours to develop my own repertoire based on my own interests and research within the available literature and recordings.
My view on the prevalence of women singers on the circuit ( or lack of it) at the time ( remember the 60's & 70's? ) is that women who were not in paid employment were expected to spend more time at home if they were married, and look to their husbands' needs. They would have had less time to devote to study /practice / research / performance than men who expected their women-folk to provide their creature comforts.I was fortunate in that I was not married and was able, as a student at University, to devote time to research which a woman with a family wouldn't have been able to do.It enabled me to get experience in running a folk club in a democratic manner too.
When I married and had children - even though I carried on researching songs and never stopped singing, I was much more confined to home. I ran workshops at home, but didn't tour or do any public performances because of the childcare problems that would have created.
Now my children are adults and I have a wonderfully understanding partner who shares my singing interests I don't have to compromise. Only the day-job which pays the mortgage gets in the way of touring and spreading my enthusiasm for traditional folk-song & music to more people.
So, in a nutshell - women who are mothers generally do not travel to distant gigs. Women who are wives have to negotiate with their menfolk if they want to travel to perform.( One assumes men who are husbands do the same...) Women who are wage-earners have to consider whether gigs are too far to travel to. ( Again this applies to men.)