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What is a traditional singer?

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Faye Roche 16 Mar 09 - 09:44 AM
melodeonboy 16 Mar 09 - 10:01 AM
Leadfingers 16 Mar 09 - 10:02 AM
Spleen Cringe 16 Mar 09 - 10:07 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Mar 09 - 10:08 AM
Faye Roche 16 Mar 09 - 10:09 AM
Sugwash 16 Mar 09 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 Mar 09 - 10:18 AM
The Sandman 16 Mar 09 - 10:30 AM
Phil Edwards 16 Mar 09 - 10:30 AM
BobKnight 16 Mar 09 - 10:38 AM
GUEST 16 Mar 09 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Will Fly, on the hoof 16 Mar 09 - 10:53 AM
Azizi 16 Mar 09 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,James H 16 Mar 09 - 11:00 AM
Gibb Sahib 16 Mar 09 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,James H 16 Mar 09 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Mar 09 - 11:21 AM
meself 16 Mar 09 - 11:22 AM
Sleepy Rosie 16 Mar 09 - 11:23 AM
Ebbie 16 Mar 09 - 12:02 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 16 Mar 09 - 12:04 PM
Azizi 16 Mar 09 - 12:22 PM
Azizi 16 Mar 09 - 12:28 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,James H 16 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM
Azizi 16 Mar 09 - 12:54 PM
VirginiaTam 16 Mar 09 - 12:59 PM
Folkiedave 16 Mar 09 - 12:59 PM
John P 16 Mar 09 - 01:08 PM
The Sandman 16 Mar 09 - 01:31 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 09 - 01:33 PM
Marje 16 Mar 09 - 02:08 PM
John P 16 Mar 09 - 03:10 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Mar 09 - 03:14 PM
TheSnail 16 Mar 09 - 03:23 PM
Sleepy Rosie 16 Mar 09 - 03:30 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 09 - 03:36 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Mar 09 - 03:43 PM
Sleepy Rosie 16 Mar 09 - 03:53 PM
Sugwash 16 Mar 09 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,PeterC 16 Mar 09 - 05:25 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Mar 09 - 05:28 PM
JWB 16 Mar 09 - 05:41 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 16 Mar 09 - 05:55 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 16 Mar 09 - 06:06 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Mar 09 - 07:14 PM
RTim 16 Mar 09 - 07:26 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 Mar 09 - 07:28 PM
Stringsinger 17 Mar 09 - 01:23 PM
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Subject: Can I ever be a real trad singer and what is that?
From: Faye Roche
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 09:44 AM

I got into a conversation the other day about traditional performers of English folk songs.

I'm Australian, as will be immediately apparent when I open my mouth to speak, though I sing without an accent. I sing almost exclusively English songs, with a few Irish and Scots ones as well.

The point being made was that, as an outsider, I could never give a convincing performance of a British song. My take is that, if you haven't heard me speak, you wouldn't know where I come from so what difference does it make?

I can see that I could be skirting around the unpleasant area of racism, so let me say at this point that I have all the delicate over-sensitivity that is common to those of my race- i.e. I don't give a dingo's dangleys what you say about us. So say what you like- I'd be interested in what people think!


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:01 AM

"though I sing without an accent"

Eh?????


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:02 AM

I see no problem with ANYONE singing English songs , though I am NOT enamoured of people who dont 'sound' right ! Louis Killen's American wife , Sally , certainly sounded fine singing British Folk , as does our own Maryrrf . I am sure that if I 'Faked' an Australian accent to sing , say , Anderson Coast , I would expect a degree of critiism , so I 'do' it in English .
You may well have a problem getting UK Club bookings if you are presenting yourself as a 'Traditional' singer though . The usual term is Revivalist Singer I think .
Good Luck any way


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:07 AM

Bit of copy'n'paste for you.

Song Links
A Celebration of English Traditional Songs and Their Australian Variants
Various Artists
Fellside Recordings FECD176D (2 CD, UK, 2003)


'Song Links' is a project that was conceived when Martin Wyndham-Read realised that certain Australian traditional songs were related to those of the British Isles. The history of Australia is of course tied to that of the British Isles, and with so many people having come from there to Australia, voluntarily or involuntarily, many of their songs have inevitably travelled with them. Often these songs would have been the only source of solace to the convicts, early settlers, migrants, or goldrushers. It could be, for instance, that a Sussex shepherd, transported for some petty crime, took with him the knowledge of the Bonny Bunch Of Roses-O, and sang it to others. Over time, the words altered as they were passed along orally and people forgot or mentally re-wrote certain parts, so that for instance the phrase "beaten by the drifting snow" has become replaced by "overpowered by grief and woe"; but the basic structure of the song has remained the same. Such a combination of differences and common elements makes the comparison between Australian versions of these songs and their counterparts from the British Isles a fascinating study.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:08 AM

One of my favourite books of Traditional English Song is Volume One of Meredith & Anderson's Folk Songs of Australia & the Men & Women Who Sang Them (NSWUP 1985) - I dare say Volume Two would be nice too, but until it turns up... The version of The Derby Ram I sing is from this book, and I live 125 miles away from Derby!

The English (Speaking) Folksong Tradition has gone forth with English Speaking settlers, criminals, pioneers and emigrants into the Americas and the Antipodes where it feeds back to Blighty with a glad and hearty resonance. I sing Child Ballads from the Ozarks, and Irish Songs from the Outback; that is the nature of English Speaking Traditional Song.

Otherwise, might we make a distinction here between a Traditional Singer and a Singer of Traditional songs? Or does that sort of thing not matter anymore?

Where's WAV when you need him? I'm sure he'd have plenty say about this one!


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Faye Roche
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:09 AM

"Eh?????"

I mean that when I sing there is no indication from the sound of my voice of where I originate from.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Sugwash
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:17 AM

Faye, if you love the songs, sing the songs, I don't give a ram's rude bits where you come from. You can get into trouble on this forum using the T and the F word, but please ignore any such nonsense, we Poms delight in whinging, as you must know. Good luck with the singing, I hope to hear you some day.

Andy


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:18 AM

"I can see that I could be skirting around the unpleasant area of racism, so let me say at this point that I have all the delicate over-sensitivity that is common to those of my race- i.e. I don't give a dingo's dangleys what you say about us. So say what you like- I'd be interested in what people think!"

Actually, speaking as an Englishman, I think that this may be a bit over-sensitive. I've never had the good fortune to visit Australia but I've met plenty of Australians in my time and formed the impression of a nation of likeable, good-humoured people. I recall being invited to a Bangkok hotel once where a load of Aussies were watching their football final on a giant TV screen. The whole event was hilarious (I was laughing with them, not at them, I should hasten to add!). Even the inevitable piss-taking at the expense 'Poms' was very light-hearted and I certainly wasn't offended by it.

So, if you want to sing English folk songs, Faye, go right ahead - after all if you're of British descent they're part of your heritage too. If you ever come to the UK, and sing in one of the clubs that I attend, I promise to listen to you with interest and respect.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:30 AM

Faye,sing what you like,in my opinion being a traditional singer,or being a singer of traditional songs matters little [where is Jim Carroll],what matters is to treat your songs and singing with respect,to practise your songs regularly,and to love what youare singing,if you do this it will be reflected in your singing.some good traditional singers worth listening to are WalterPardon,HarryCox,PhilTanner[superb].
there are a couple of good ones left alive today,Jeff Wesley, Bob Lewis.
if the definition of a traditional singer is one who learns songs orally ,from a community,then that makes anybody a traditional singer who learns traditional songs, orally from you tube .


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:30 AM

I second everyone who's said (in so many words) if it feels good, do it - if the song speaks to you, sing it.

But I'm not sure about...

I mean that when I sing there is no indication from the sound of my voice of where I originate from.

...this. I'd much rather hear someone sing English songs in their own Australian accent than have no indication where they were from. My vowel sounds when I'm singing are the same as when I'm speaking, or at least I hope they are.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: BobKnight
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:38 AM

I know of one man here in Aberdeen who sings "Bothy Ballads," like a native, but turns out to be an American. You'd never know when he's singing that he's not from Aberdeenshire. So, go ahead and do what you want - there are too many artificial barriers in trad/folk already.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:52 AM

Trevor Lucas? Eric Bogle? Both excellent - who gives a rat's arse. Sing up and sing well - that's all that matters.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: GUEST,Will Fly, on the hoof
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:53 AM

'Twas me above...

(I'll get me cookie).


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:00 AM

Faye Roche=-with regard to your main point-I believe that a person should not be prohibited from singing a song because he or she is not from the population of people who composed that song. That said, I believe that some songs are likely to be performed more authentically (which is to say the way its composer/s wrote them to be performed) if they are sung by an individual from the same population as the composer or by a group that is comprised of (or mostly comprised of) people from the same population as the songs composer/s. For example, I would much prefer to hear a Black gospel song sung by a Black choir (in a "non-concert style") rather than a White choir singing that song.

Furthermore, I also think that every traditional song does not need to be sung in public performances. I'm specifically thinking about the American songs which contain offensive dialect and "coon" references. (I do understand that this isn't the kind of English traditional song you were referring to).

Also, Faye Roche, as an aside from the main point of your post, it appears from your comment that you are using the word "race" the way people in the United States use "nationality". Also it appears that your use of the word "racism" is how we ("UnitedStaters") would refer to folks who are are biased against people living in a particular country for no other reason than the fact that they are from that country. I'm not sure what single term that would be.

I'm curious-is this a standard way that the terms "race" and "racism" are used in Australia? And (this question is directed to folks from the UK) are those terms used that way in the UK?

Also, (I'm asking this because I really don't know) what population of people does the word "Pom" refer to. Is it a derogatory term?

Thanks in advance for your responses.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: GUEST,James H
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:00 AM

seconded, Pip! I'd always far rather hear people's own accent in their singing too, otherwise to me it feels like they are putting on something fake - presumably either to be a faithful copy of the CD they learned the song off or to sing 'in the accent of' wherever the song comes from. Not sure why you would want to do that? - regional accents vary so much and just because a song was collected in a particular place at a particular time it doesn't mean it wasn't song elsewhere and elsewhen by people with other accents. Trying to faithfully recreate an accent is surely only one step away from also trying to faithfully recreate costume and instrumentation too, and before you know it you've joined a historical re-enactment society...

If I learned an american song or a scottish song (I am english with a not strongly regional but more northern than southern accent) I would feel I was taking the piss to start putting on an american or scottish accent - besides the fact that I am not good enough at accents anyhow to get it right - and anyhow, surely if accent is the key then it would be just as inappropriate to sing a song from Maine with a Texan accent or a song from the Outer Hebrides with a Glaswegian accent as it would be to sing either in my own voice?

All that said, Faye, it's your performance, of songs you have chosen, and if you want to sing them in any accent you damn well please, that is up to you!

Originally, you said The point being made was that, as an outsider, I could never give a convincing performance of a British song. My take is that, if you haven't heard me speak, you wouldn't know where I come from so what difference does it make?

I would query the word 'convincing' - what did the person you were talking to mean by that? If they meant 'sing it and sound like you're english' then if you're good at accents then yes you can - although if you are doing a bit of chat between songs, then it'd quickly become apparent that you were singing in a different accent to your speaking voice... if they meant 'sing it (english accent or not) and make your audience believe in it as a song' then of course you can, no person or region or country 'owns' traditional material and you can pretty much always find a way of performing it from the heart that will speak to your audience regardless of accent or country of birth or anything else. Of course if your song is long the lines of 'I'm a jolly englishman, look at how english I am' then I suppose it might be quite funny delivered by somebody who wasn't english but even so you might be choosing to go for the comedy angle... :)

Final point from me - there are PLENTY of performers out there who do, to my mind, deliver very convincing performances of english songs while blatantly not being english themsleves - James Fagan and Mudcat's own George Papavgeris are two who spring to mind. And, amusingly, Nancy Kerr who is from NE England but has spent a lot of time in Australia now has a distinct aussie twang to her speaking voice and performs both Australian material and her native English in her own, to my mind perfectly convincing, accent, which has hints of both australian and geordie...


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:14 AM

A singer of traditional songs versus a traditional singer?

A traditional mailman?

Tradition is a practice, repeated over time with some sense of continuity. People are not "traditional" per se, though they may engage in traditional practices.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: GUEST,James H
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:19 AM

Azizi - yes in the UK plenty of people talk about race & racism as regarding nationality rather than skin colour or ethnic group. I do myself - the logic being that prejudice and discrimination to do with where people come from or are perceived to have 'originally' come from are no different whether it is being aimed predominantly at skin colour or face shape or accent or name or whatever (in the UK in recent years some areas have had big influxes of Polish immigrants, and there have been some issues of abuse towards them that are every bit as racist as abuse towards, say, Pakistani or African immigrants).

And, English people are referred to as 'Poms' or 'Pommies' by Australians. I don't know why but I bet somebody better informed than me will come along and tell us in a little while...


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:21 AM

Interesting site:

http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/sounds/


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: meself
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:22 AM

"and before you know it you've joined a historical re-enactment society... "

And next, you commit a murder that you perhaps think very little of at the time, then progress to petty theft, from there to lying and cheating, next the vice of intemperance, and soon you find yourself sunk into the pit of procrastination and Sabbath-breaking ... !


(Apologies to Thomas DeQuincey).


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:23 AM

Captain Birdseye: "if the definition of a traditional singer is one who learns songs orally ,from a community,then that makes anybody a traditional singer who learns traditional songs, orally from you tube ."

What an interesting point Cap'n...
Not one that I have an opinion on, but I'd be curious to hear other's responses to that idea.

Azizi: "I believe that some songs are likely to be performed more authentically (which is to say the way its composer/s wrote them to be performed) if they are sung by an individual from the same population as the composer or by a group that is comprised of (or mostly comprised of) people from the same population as the songs composer/s. For example, I would much prefer to hear a Black gospel song sung by a Black choir (in a "non-concert style") rather than a White choir singing that song."

Your feeling that a song aught to ideally remain sung within the context of the source of that song, raises some quite curious questions for me. You speak of 'population' in your first statement, then by example cite prefering to hear gospel sung by a 'Black choir' than a 'White choir'. In this instance, you are singling out 'race' as the definitive 'population', but imagine say a non-religious London Black youth choir, would that 'Black choir' be acceptable? Or would the absence of the initial religious and National human context (or 'population') make this Black choirs singing less appropriate. Also compare a white Christian American choirs singing of gospel to the non-religious British Black choir? Who's singing of gospel would be more 'authentic'?

I'm not trying to be awkward or contrary btw. I'm just curious about your thoughts. Especially as if one were to extrapolate from your statement, then one might say that a singer of Traditional English songs, who comes from a comfortable Middle-class background, aught not to sing songs that arose from tough Working-class industrial sources and so forth.
Where does one draw the line? And what are the demarcation points?


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:02 PM

This discussion brings to mind a country-western group that toured Washington/Oregon/California and Nevada in the 60s and 70s. They were good, they were fun and there was an extra element: They were all Chinese.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:04 PM

This thread has a disturbingly familiar ring to it....


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:22 PM

GUEST,James H, thanks for your responses to my question.

Sleepy Rosie, my comments were not about what is "acceptable" to me and certainly were not about what is or should be acceptable to others. I can not speak to what "should be" acceptable to any other person.

My comment was about the authenticity in style & performance of a song with "authenticity" being defined by me (and not for anyone else) as "the way [the songs' composer/s] wrote them to be performed".

I believe that many African Americans gospel and secular songs the way we do because of socialization. I don't believe that we sing soulfully because of something innate that comes with the skin color or something in our blood. In other words, I believe that just like any other population, African Americans are taught through our direct experiences {in church, at home, at social gatherings etc) and through our indirect experiences (television, radio, movies, internet etc) to value and to imitate/perform certain types of singing, and certain types of instrumental music, and certain types of voices, and certain types of movements (or non-movements as the case may be).

Beyond viewing a few YouTube videos, I know very little about how Black choirs the UK sing. In those videos it appears that those choirs are vocally & stylistically the same as African Americans choirs. If that is the case for Black British choirs across economic lines (with "Black" here meaning persons of some Black African descent)-and again, I know too little about those populations to say that it is indeed the case-then I would postulate that it's so because they have been socialized to value (prefer) that particular music approach/style/sound the same as we (African Americans) have.

My point was/is that I think it would be much less likely for a person or people who have not been socialized to approach (interprete/sing/play/respond to) a gospel (or a Blues or an R&B) song the same way as most Black people have (been socialized to do so) to sing the song the way its Black composers wrote it to be sung-with some range for individual interpretation (what hip-hoppers refer to "putting your own flava to the mix" and what is also referred to as "owning the song".

I should expand what I just wrote to say "its [the songs] "Black composers or its White composers" since as you well know many "Black American" R&B songs were composer by White people. Imo, these people were or became immersed in Black cultures and produced a sound or sound that met the aesthetic senses of African Americans. That still speaks to my point about "socialization".

Mind you, I'm not saying that I believe that people who are unfamiliar with a culture can't "authentically" sing songs from that culture. It just seems to me that it would be much more difficult for them to sing those songs authentically than if they had more than a passing familarity with that culture.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:28 PM

Excuse my typo. Let me try again:

I believe that many African Americans gospel and secular sing the way we do because of socialization.

http://www.answers.com/topic/socialization gives this definition of "socialization":

"(psychology) The process whereby a child learns to get along with and to behave similarly to other people in the group, largely through imitation as well as group pressure".


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM

Anyone fancy a pint?


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: GUEST,James H
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM

you're welcome Azizi.

out of interest, since no other explanation for Pom has turned up yet, I've dug up the following:

according to wikipedia, Pom or Pommy as slang for English person was historically quite derogatory but these days is now largely used in a 'playful or affectionate' sense. Origin of the term is uncertain – maybe from red pom-poms worn on British naval uniform hats, maybe a contraction of 'pomegranate', itself either extinct rhyming slang for 'immigrant' or relating to sunburn among fair skinned brits turning their skin the colour of pomegranates. But, lots of other theories too.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:54 PM

Let me add another point for clarification. I am not saying that all Black singers (with "Black" here meaning of some Blacdk African descent} sing the same.

For instance, I love listening to the drumming and other percussion on (Nigerian) Olatunji's Baba Olatunji & his Drums of Passion- Akiwowo album.

But I don't like the high vocal range he and his singers sometimes use. That high range is found to some extent in this video but is found even more so in other songs from that album. This may be because of a Middle Eastern influence to Nigeria's music, but I know too little about this music to say. And I have had the same reaction to some Ethiopian music and Moroccan music that I've heard. The singers' voices are too high pitched for my aesthetic taste (that aesthetic taste being the result of my socialization).


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:59 PM

Singing trad English songs without an accent.

Odetta sang many traditional English, Scots, Irish songs beautifully, without applying a native British accent to the songs. She laid her own polished style on every piece she did. As she had a classically trained voice, she was able to render the trad Brit songs without a US southern drawl or a northern California accent.
However, she did apply appropriate American accents to the American pieces. The bluesy songs were done with deep south accent. Songs like Going for a Ride in the Car Car and Historical Bum, she applied a hillbilly accent to. So it is possible to sing with or without a distinct accent. In fact it I think it is easier to sing without an accent than it is to speak without one.

I think you should sing what you enjoy singing Faye. Lay on your own style.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:59 PM

Impossible to define in those terms.

I sing what everyone regards as tradtional songs which I have learnt orally and I have been doing it for 35 years.

One of our regulars is a well-known singer who anyone would call a revival singer who has learnt the same songs orally over the past couple of years.

I am a crap singer - he is a brilliant singer.

Which would you prefer to listen to?


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: John P
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 01:08 PM

I'm an American who has been doing traditional English songs for many years. Here's a concept: since the dominant culture in America (and in Australia) is English in origin, English songs are as much my tradition as they are an English person's. It's the only tradition I have that goes back more than a few hundred years.

I could maybe call a person's music "more traditional" if they grew up in the English countryside, learning songs from their grandma and others in the village, and if they didn't learn any other music from any other source, especially not from books, CDs, or listening to Martin Carthy. Does such a creature actually exist?


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 01:31 PM

sinister supporter,I am just having a pint,a pale pleasant home brewed lager,just the thing for a sunny evening.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 01:33 PM

So if I started to sing Elizabethan madrigals I would presumably automatically become an Elizabethan?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Marje
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 02:08 PM

Regarding accents: there's no such thing as speaking - or singing - without an accent. People will tend to disregard an accent that's their own one, or close to it, but it's an accent nevertheless. You can't not have one, any more than you can not have a skin colour.

In England, "Received Pronunciation" is the accent that's most universally heard and understood. It has its origins in the south and south-east of England, but it is widespread outside those areas and it's the one most likely to be used when English is taught as a second language. This means it's no longer just a regional accent, but it's still an accent, and it stands out more and more as an accent as you go further from the southern counties towards more northern and western areas of the UK (or, of course, to the US or other English-speaking countries overseas).

Marje


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: John P
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:10 PM

No Jim. If you started singing Elizabethan madrigals, you'd be a person singing Elizabethan madrigals. How in the world would you presume to automatically become Elizabethan?


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:14 PM

Folk singing aside, the majority of people who sing in England sing with a contrived American accent! Oh and some of them get paid enormous amounts of money for doing so.

Sing 'em how the hell you want, BUT SING 'EM. If your audience don't like it they'll vote with their feet.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:23 PM

Have a listen to this http://www.myspace.com/maggiesand

I'll be back later.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:30 PM

"Folk singing aside, the majority of people who sing in England sing with a contrived American accent! "

Any contrived accent sounds just awful to me! Whatever the song and whoever the singer. But most especially when I've accidentally done it myself.

I learned one or two Irish songs off recordings by Irish singers, and it took recording myself and listening back to actually hear that I was accidentilly slipping into odd Irish accenting at moments.
And it sounded absolutely crap! Needless to say, that one has gone on my 'watch for that' list.

"Sing in your own voice", was one of the first ever pieces of advice I was given regards singing traditional songs. Friends who have heard me singing, commented that I "sound like no-one else", which is I think a good thing because it means that I've taken that bit of advice to heart and have learned to sing in the voice that is fully natural to me without picking up much noticable 'colouration' from those I'm learning songs from.

I'd encourage anyone else to take the above advice seriously too, because, it not only adds 'truth' to your song (IMO), but also compells a 'trust' in oneself that you have exactly the voice you need, to do sing this song your own way.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:36 PM

Sorry John P
A senior moment - you're right of course - didn't read the thread
Sorry,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:43 PM

Okay so you're English let's say and you like a ballad that comes from Scotland only and desperate to give it a go, and why not????

You have several options.
1) Attempt the Scottish words and the accent.
2) Keep the Scottish pronunciations but sing the rest in your own accent.
3) Attempt a wholesale Anglicising.
4) Don't do it.

Personally I don't give a damn as long as you give it your best shot.
I've heard all of the first 3 and if the resultant sound is pleasing I'm happy to listen and take what I can from the performance.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:53 PM

"You have several options.
1) Attempt the Scottish words and the accent.
2) Keep the Scottish pronunciations but sing the rest in your own accent.
3) Attempt a wholesale Anglicising.
4) Don't do it."

Err, personally I like number two over and above any other option, both to listen to and to attempt for myself.
Dialiect, or regional nuances in language, isn't quite the same as accent and doesn't IMO feel as 'faked'. But yes, of course it's all down to individual preference, of both the singer and the listener.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Sugwash
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 04:48 PM

"...maybe from red pom-poms worn on British naval uniform hats..."

Far be it for me to contradict an organ of verity such as Wikipedia, but to my certain knowledge the Royal Navy has never had red (or indeed any other colour) pompoms on their caps (never hats). That particular fashion statement belongs to the French navy.

Another theory, although there's a school of thought against it, is that it derives from POM — property of (her/his) majesty — which was printed on the back of the convicts clothing.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 05:25 PM

I think I know what The Snail is going to come back with. I won't spoil it for him but I have just finished reviewing Maggie Sand's CD, and I can sum the review up in one word: BUY!


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 05:28 PM

The word 'radar' was coined in 1941, 'sonar' in 1943. Offhand I can't think of any attested acronyms entering the language before those two. Acronymic explanations have been proposed for any number of odd bits of slang, but in every case that I know of the slang term was in use before anyone thought of the acronym (or 'backronym'). People sometimes cite the seventeenth-century 'CABAL' as an exception, but it's an example of something quite different - a set of initials fitted to an existing word, not a new word generated from a set of initials.

Accents?

1) If possible, use your own.
2) If the vocabulary used means that the song sounds silly in your accent (or doesn't rhyme), see if you can fix it with a few small tweaks. I can't define 'a few' (or 'small'), except to say that you should be trying to change the song as much as necessary but as little as possible.
3) If that doesn't work, sing something else.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: JWB
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 05:41 PM

Re "pom"

My mate Kevin, from Adelaide, told me pohm (his spelling) comes from Prisoner Of Her Majesty, which was stenciled on convicts clothes as Sugwash says. True or not (and Kevin is a spectacular liar), I like this explanation because of the subtle twist built into it: once Australia set up shop as an independent nation, they could laugh at the Brits who were, still, Prisoners Of Her Majesty.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 05:55 PM

would listening to Ewan McColl related musicks make one a left winger? *LOL*


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 06:06 PM

Strewth, Faye - now look what you started...
OK, for what it's worth, I'm a traditional singer, in that I have songs passed on to me orally by my (traveller) mother and grandmother, which they had from their grandmothers. I've also learned many other songs from oral transmission. I've learned many more songs from books, archives, libraries etc., and I try to avoid learning them from other peoples' recordings, because I want to sound like me, no matter how good Martin Carthy may sound. I also love the bothy ballads, and take option 2 of Steve Gardham's selection, adding the word "necessary" to Scottish pronunciations.
That said, it makes no difference; I don't trade on it, it's just there. I sing, therefore I am...go and do likewise.
And I think Poms had something to do with apples, or having no father, or both.
KYBTTS


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 07:14 PM

My mate Kevin, from Adelaide, told me pohm (his spelling) comes from Prisoner Of Her Majesty

Actually, "pom" is an abbreviation - it's short for "pommie bastard".

Anyway... According to the OED, "pommie" is short for "pomegranate". In the 19th century, recent settlers were nicknamed "Jimmy Grants" (= "immigrants"). "Pomegranate" - or "pommy grant" - first appears around 1910, either as an alternative to "Jimmy Grant" or possibly to distinguish a new wave of English migrants from the established "Jimmy Grants".

It sounds far-fetched, but if you think about the way slang develops in families & workplaces you can see it's got the ring of truth. That's one way language develops - people make up stuff.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: RTim
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 07:26 PM

Hey Who Cares - Just Sing!!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 07:28 PM

Rule #1: Sing whatever you fucking like.

Rule #2: ...er...

Rule #3: That's it.


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Subject: RE: What is a traditional singer?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 01:23 PM

I think from a folklorist standpoint, the traditional singer evolves from a community that is isolated so that a particular stylistic approach to a song is taken. I don't think of a traditional folksinger as being musically eclectic. The style comes from this community usually handed down generationally affecting vocal style, phrasing and aesthetic values regarding vocal tone and ornamentation.

I don't think everyone can be a traditional singer but everyone can sing their songs.

Frank


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