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What isn't folk

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GUEST,flydeplayer 04 Aug 10 - 12:27 PM
Ernest 04 Aug 10 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Aug 10 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 04 Aug 10 - 01:14 PM
MGM·Lion 04 Aug 10 - 01:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Aug 10 - 01:45 PM
MGM·Lion 04 Aug 10 - 02:10 PM
Nick 04 Aug 10 - 02:15 PM
Amos 04 Aug 10 - 02:19 PM
Joe Offer 04 Aug 10 - 02:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Aug 10 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Aug 10 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,999 04 Aug 10 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Paul Gadd 04 Aug 10 - 03:35 PM
mousethief 04 Aug 10 - 03:41 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Aug 10 - 04:24 PM
Don Firth 04 Aug 10 - 04:30 PM
Amos 04 Aug 10 - 04:57 PM
skipy 04 Aug 10 - 05:35 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM
Tootler 04 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM
Joe_F 04 Aug 10 - 06:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Aug 10 - 07:18 PM
MikeofNorthumbria 04 Aug 10 - 07:38 PM
GUEST,Fyldeplayer 05 Aug 10 - 04:47 AM
Leadfingers 05 Aug 10 - 05:04 AM
matt milton 05 Aug 10 - 05:11 AM
GUEST 05 Aug 10 - 05:41 AM
bubblyrat 05 Aug 10 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,happylassie 05 Aug 10 - 06:27 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Aug 10 - 07:43 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 Aug 10 - 07:52 AM
GUEST 05 Aug 10 - 08:06 AM
Tim Leaning 05 Aug 10 - 12:24 PM
Don Firth 05 Aug 10 - 03:01 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Aug 10 - 06:00 PM
Don Firth 05 Aug 10 - 06:28 PM
TheSnail 05 Aug 10 - 06:54 PM
Bettynh 05 Aug 10 - 07:08 PM
Nick 05 Aug 10 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 05 Aug 10 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Fyldeplayer 06 Aug 10 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Aug 10 - 05:39 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Aug 10 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Aug 10 - 06:00 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Aug 10 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 06 Aug 10 - 06:52 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Aug 10 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 06 Aug 10 - 07:22 AM
MGM·Lion 06 Aug 10 - 07:56 AM
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Subject: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,flydeplayer
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 12:27 PM

This weekend a festival session offers the chance to perform outside of the considered folk style, instead to perform pop, music hall, jazz etc.
Likely to only get one piece, I thought maybe David Gray, Velvet Underground or Richard Thompson? But then you start to wonder wether RT might be 'folkie'. My other half suggested an American Chain Gang song - US folk?

Just for fun what might other people perform?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Ernest
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 12:33 PM

No. We refuse to give you a simple answer. You have to go through all the "What is folk" threads and study them carefully.

Then you will know.

;0)
Ernest


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 12:51 PM

As for the Velvet Underground, it's well known much of their distinctive droning sound derives from Cale's viola on which he's flattrened the bridge in immitation of the Welsh Crwth. Otherwise, if you're using the 1954 Definition you're as stuffed as those who favour the Equus Definition. Remember - Folk isn't about genre, it's about context...


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 01:14 PM

I go by the Steamin' Willie definition.

it works for me.

It winds up a few people who reckon they know a thing or two about folk music.

It is about as good as it gets.

What is it?

I am playing at a folk club tonight. If I were to sing "Tie a yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak tree" then ergo it is a folk song.

Not as daft as it seems. You see it is a song. Sung in a folk club. Genre is subjective and multi dimensional. (See iTunes for details!)

Got nowt to do with 1954 either.

A song is a song. Common sense and a dictionary would show that to be the case. What word you put front of "song" is where it becomes subjective.   The subject matter of many "folk" songs is the same as many opera, heavy metal, pop, rock, jazz, blues whatever songs.

If I sang a song in Gmaj, in 6/8 time, unaccompanied, about how life is a bit crap, what genre would it be?

The ones I am thinking of include hearing Bruce Springsteen, a bit of Mozart, zillion traditional songs and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

So, when Led Zeppelin sang Gallows Pole, it became a rock song. Live with it. (Don't worry, it's still a folk song because that's the beauty! Rational well adjusted people don't get hung up over it.)


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 01:39 PM

Oh, piss off!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 01:45 PM

The important thing is whether it's a good song. If "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" were a folk song, it would still be a crap song.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 02:10 PM

Perhaps, McGrath; but it would then have a certain phenomenological interest to a certain mindset with an academic or aesthetic interest in the genre; which, to my mind, it lacks within the commonplace genre within which it actually has its being.

The simple appeal to the status of "a good song" has severe limitations, imo.

[Why pick on that particular song, btw? It's not a particularly distinguished pop song; but I can think of many worse.]

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Nick
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 02:15 PM

Something early Zappa (Nasal Retentive Calliope music perhaps) or somthing from Trout Mask Replica by Beefheart would be good.

Country Joe and the Fish would also be nice


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Amos
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 02:19 PM

Well, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon", just like "Sally Gardens" and a lot of Child ballads, was generated by the pressures of its time. So was "Yankee Doodle", which I am sure sounded like Johnny-Come-Lately lyrics at the time, but surely counts now as a well-beloved folk song.

"East Side, West Side" was a TinPan Alley commercial sockdologer in its time, but is notalgically hummed by old folks today and might qualify.

So I submit that it is not the pop-ness of a song, but the depth of its roots in the sentiment of those who know it, that makes the difference. The harsh and chaotic songs of our youth or of today's, provided by the Stones or the rappers, will go by the wayside, while those which actually capture the feelings of the time (Michelle, If I gave my Love to You, Masters of War, God on Our Side, the Canadian Railtoad Trilogy...countless pieces) will survive. If time alone is the test, they will probably pass it.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 02:39 PM

Well, I've always wanted to work up a rendition of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." Trouble is, I'm not sure I could do a credible job of it. I come from the Wisconsin Camp Song Tradition and I'm really good at singing "The Hole in the Bottom of the Sea." But somehow I don't feel that has adequately prepared me for "Walk on the Wild Side."

In my search for the song on Spotify, I came across a song called "Walk on the Wild Side" that was recorded by Nancy Sinatra; and I feared it was an easy-listening bastardization of the Lou Reed classic. Not so. It's a totally different song that begins:
    Sinner, don't you hear what I'm sayin'
    Sinner, you've been playin', not prayin'

And it's a pretty good song, although I found other recordings that were far better than the Nancy Sinatra version.

But Fyldeplayer, that brings up another suggestion: how about a camped-up rendition of "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'"?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:18 PM

The fun lies in the way a performer can sometimes put across a non-folk song in a style that makes people hear it as a folk song. Or the other way round with a cross-dressed folk song.

Either way it needs to be a good song.

(The reason I mentioned "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" lay in the previous post by Steamin' Willie - If I were to sing "Tie a yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak tree" then ergo it is a folk song. True enough many worse songs. Many even worse songs.)


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:31 PM

I've even folked up Cage's 4'33" by performing it on pipe & tabor.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,999
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:35 PM

What`s on second.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Paul Gadd
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:35 PM

Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:31 PM

I've even folked up Cage's 4'33" by performing it on pipe & tabor.

-----------


I'd love to hear that, would you put it on youtube?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: mousethief
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:41 PM

Send me an mp3 and I'll do a slide show for it.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 04:24 PM

Using the oral tradition definitions, if you sing a song you've just written that should easily qualify!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 04:30 PM

Che gelida manina, tenor aria from the first act of Puccini's La Boheme. Not a folk song.

But since I've never heard it sung by a horse, there are some who would insist on arguing the point. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Amos
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 04:57 PM

A really good rendition of O, solo mio will raise the hair on my neck. Inter alia.

A


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: skipy
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 05:35 PM

I don't know which festival this is, but White Horse folk festival the following weekend 13,14,15 Aug 2010 is also offering a one hour session with same idea.
Skipy
www.whitehorsefolkfestival.co.uk


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM

Any song that is so wedded to a particular rock performance of it that that remains the definitive version. Try "Jumpin' Jack Flash". "Sympathy for the Devil" can nearly get to folk as can "Street Fightin' Man".

Personally I do a folked up version of "Substitute".

Or you could go for classical stuff that is not convertible into folk. Maybe Dvorak's "Stabat Mater". Psalms, you may be shocked to hear are surprisingly convertible.

Mid you I have heard a number of classical singers totally murder Barbra Ellen. Why they so often go for that baffles me.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM

If you sing, say Peggy Sue, unaccompanied, does it then become a folk song?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Joe_F
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 06:14 PM

1. Any song that is not copyrighted is a folk song.
2. Any song that is copyrighted is a folk song if you are violating the copyright.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 07:18 PM

The Owl and the Pussycat works well sung fiercely, and without accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 07:38 PM

To me, it all seems very simple.

On the one hand, there is Folk Music.

And on the other hand, there is Show Business.

If someone is paid for playing or singing, and somebody else pays to hear them, then IMHO that is show business. It matters not a jot whether the song/music being performed is a classical opus, a jazz standard, or a pop song. Nor whether it was composed today, yesterday, or several centuries ago. If a commercial transaction is involved, then it's show business.

This rule applies even if the songs being sung are 100% traditional. Even if the singer is a horny-handed son of the soil with leather thongs tied around his trouser-knees - even then, if money changes hands, then it's still show business in my reckoning. (And the fundamental principle of show business still applies - give your audience something they like, or go hungry.)

Contrariwise, folk music and song happen when people are playing and singing simply to entertain themselves, their families, friends and neighbours, plus any casual passers-by who happen to show an interest. If no money changes hands (the occasional free drink for the singer/musician is a goodwill gesture, not a contractual fee), then it matters not a jot where the songs and tunes come from, or in what style they are delivered. On that occasion, and in that context, they become temporarily co-opted into the folk tradition.

And the fundamental principle of folk music is - do whatever you do from the heart, and do it to the best of your ability. Those who don't enjoy the result are free to do something different when their turn comes around. Or they can simply walk away, and start another session or singaround somewhere else.

And whether or not horses can sing has nothing whatever to do with it.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 04:47 AM

IMHO Folk Music is a valid category wether paid for or not, my original thought was at what point do you fully cross the threshold into another style - Blues, Jazz, Pop? If I performed Fernando by Abba on acoustic guitar is that a bit to 'Folkie' for a session promoting a wider approach, or it just a sweet pop song?

When I first heard 'The Downeaster Alexa' by Billy Joel from a library cassette (remember those?) I felt completely at ease performing it in Folk clubs because of the subject matter ( sea, hardtimes, a dying lifestyle).   

Skipy, you correctly indentified the Session at WHF, I now realise I have an extra week to ponder this conundrum!

I certainly look forward to some great pop, jazz, gospel whatever, and as I have that extra week maybe I'll try some Captain Beefheart (Spotlight Kid).


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 05:04 AM

As one involved in a TOTALLY Mixed session at Sidmouth , in MY book it is the TREATMENT of a song that makes it 'Folk' - Steve Hunt from the Liskeard club regularly turned up with 'Good' Folk Songs that he had purloined from all sorts of places , but they DID Work as 'Folk'
At the Newt we ange from Trad Unnaccomp , hrough Singer Songwriter and Blues to Country Western , Music hall and light Jazz , with the occasional incursion into Classical ! And it ALL seems to work for the 'Folkie' Festival audience !!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: matt milton
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 05:11 AM

Go for the Velvets.

Each to their own, but, really, I've yet to hear a convincing case for the music of David Gray being anything other than middle-of-the-road tosh. He's like a marginally less uncool Chris de Burgh.

I've never got Richard Thompson either; my ears just hear rather dull 70s American rock radio in his music. There's a couple of hairs between Thompson and Dire Straits. Those aren't good hairs.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 05:41 AM

Honest words Matt - I feel really uncool now, that's 'Babylon' out of my set!

Perhaps I'll stick with 'Pale Blue Eyes' - works well with concertina, though I've always fancied 'Venus in Furs' - but SM lyrics?

Sorry Leadfingers - not sure you can 'make' a song folk, though I know SH and may others recognise interesting material, I remember many years ago hearing Roger Watson perform Soldiers by James Taylor - so good and recently enjoyed Pete Coes jazzed up 'Monday Morning'.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: bubblyrat
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:17 AM

Karen says that the interpretation of which genre it is, is usually heavily influenced by the performer and their perceived style. Last night,at our "Folk Club",which has for some time been an "Acoustic Club" rather, Karen & I happily did our arrangement of "We Are Sailing" as per The Sutherland Brothers (covered by Rod S), which went down very well, except with our sound man, who hates it & left the building.
               The originator of this thread,the little devil, was there too,but turned up too late to hear that particular song ; he and his "accomplices" often stun (but never outrage) our sensibilities with such classics as "Dark Side Of The Moon",sensitively accompanied with guitar,melodeon & duet concertina.
       As "Skype" says ; Don't forget the "White Horse" festival at Grove, near Wantage,next weekend ; One of the best little festivals around !!
                See you at Lechlade this weekend ? I expect I'll be doing barbecued Signal Crayfish again !!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,happylassie
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:27 AM

When asked to define a folk song I say it is a " song for people "covers pretty much anything. Some people just need to listen to any music in the right setting to label it folk.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 07:43 AM

If you want to do a Velvets song in a folk setting, Candy Says is the obvious choice.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 07:52 AM

Something operatic or classical maybe? Although I suspect G&S could make it into folk by some peoples definitions. And Wagner made it into German Folk in an off-side way. Mmmm. Maybe not then. How about Osborne? Surely no-one could accuse Ossie of folkiness?

(Sit's back waiting for the arguments...)

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 08:06 AM

Oh I certainly was there bubblyrat waving my invisible lighter with everyone else.

We are able to indulge ourselves at our "Folk Club" (acoustic session) which has always been inspiring in modern and trad songs. I do think Mr B we might outrage elsewhere and temper our set to suit when required.

I agree that the setting will influence the listener, 'Sailing' performed in an low lit old beamy pub might come over differently than in a bright hotel dining room.

....Candy Says is the obvious choice. That's subjective. Is there something in CS that suits it to a folk setting? My original enquiry was based on the chance to play at a session where 'style' is being replaced by content. If I had the ability I would play some classical guitar - but not in DADGAD!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 12:24 PM

Chestnut anyone?


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 03:01 PM

A folk song is a folk song, whether it is sung by Uncle Ezra on his front porch for his own amusement or by an operatic bass-baritone during a paid recital in Carnegie Hall.   Who sings it, the style in which it is sung, where it is sung, and whether or not the singer gets paid has nothing to do with the origins and basic character of the song itself.

By the same token, if Uncle Ezra, still on his front porch and singing for himself, breaks into Di Quella Pira from Verdi's Il Trovatore, that doesn't alter the fact that it is an operatic aria.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:00 PM

Well, Don, I think if the OP had wanted to know what is "folk" then the 1954 definition answers him. What he is looking for are things that no-one, not even the most asinine horse definitioner or Sweeney O'Pibroch could assert to be folk.

HappyLassie, please try to keep up.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:28 PM

Actually, Richard, I was responding to MikeofNorthumbria's post up-thread a way at 04 Aug 10 - 07:38 p.m.

I'm perfectly happy with the 1954 definition.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: TheSnail
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:54 PM

GUEST,happylassie

Some people just need to listen to any music in the right setting to label it folk.

Indeed they do.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Bettynh
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 07:08 PM

My first thought when I saw this thread was Steve Goodman's dead girl medley - Teen Angel/Tell Laura I Love Her/Strange Things Happen.

Bill Harley does a 20-minute set teaching the audience Build Me Up Buttercup.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: Nick
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 08:23 PM

After Hours off the third Velvet Underground album

Tom Waits works well in a folk environment I reckon

S&M what aabout Tom Lehrer's Masochism Tango


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 08:53 PM

smooth jazz-funk-fusion..


that self indulgent wank can't possibly be folk ???

..can it ???


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 04:28 AM

Good call Nick, listened to Velvets 3rd and After Hours is on my set list again. Tom Trauberts Blues is also a WIP although Maggie Holland (English Country Blues Band) did good version,
I leave Tom Lehrer material to Leadfingers.

I have a medley of Mellow Yellow/Day for a Daydream/Happy Together - that could work.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 05:39 AM

I think if the OP had wanted to know what is "folk" then the 1954 definition answers him. What he is looking for are things that no-one, not even the most asinine horse definitioner or Sweeney O'Pibroch could assert to be folk.

I was staying out of this, but seeing as Richard has named & shamed me as a Heretic...

All the 1954 Definition does is to describe a process common to all musics; as a definition of a genre it is about as helpful as the Equus Conundrum as attributed to Louis Armstrong (et al). For Richard to call this asinine in a pejorative sense (rather than equine) is because of the inherent Righteousness of the 1954 Orthodoxy - those who feel (and Richard isn't the only one) that the 1954 Definition actualy represents a single objective truth, which of course it doesn't - it is a Scriptural Law that only makes sense to the Believer. The test is a simple one - name me one single genre of music that is not covered by the 1954 Definition and I'll eat my proberbial hat. As a reminder, the 1954 Definition was written by Maud Karpeles and adopted by the International Folk Music Council which long ago changed its name to the International Council for Traditional Music whose stated aims are to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries.

Folk Music (as most on Mudcat understand the term irrespective of their fidelity to the 1954 Shibboleth) is a multiplicity of musical genres whose only difference from other musical genres is one of style and idiom. To say these musical idioms are any different from other musical idioms because of set of outdated precepts is to further the Folk Myth - and the Myth of Folk - which has long since outlived any usefulness it might have had. As I've said elsewhere I've experienced, and continue to experience, music of other genres being performed in The Name of Folk (I'm sure Jim Carroll will be condescending presently with The List). Like Don's earlier example of the backwood's man croaking operatic arias on his back porch, there is an element where Folk Music is that which adapts a multiplicity of higher / other cultural aspects for its own purposes and transfigures / debases / approximates them according to ability. Indeed, if we're to look at Folk Music purely in terms of Folklore & Usage then the entire remit of What is Folk? becomes so vast as to lose any sense of a single defining aspect other than social context. We even could apply that to your actual Folkie Folk Music, but even then I'm sure things will get messy - especially with respect of the songs of Known Composers Remaining Unchanged in the Folk Tradition, or those who compose Folk Music in the Revival / Traditional Idiom, and those Living Musical Traditions which are defined by Written Composition. I notice that as part of the Fylde Festival this year local professional covers-band The Jeps are doing a Beatles Night at the Marine Hall: the Waits tradition is alive and well!


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 05:57 AM

There is, though, more than a hint here Suibhne of the syllogism I denounced in my Folk Review column in about 1973, in approx, from memory, the following terms:

"There is a syllogistic breakdown of logic in the proposition, 'I like Folk; I like the Beatles; ∴ the Beatles are Folk'.

"I happen to be particularly fond both of eating and of the novels of Jane Austen; but this does not lead me to confuse 'Mansfield Park' with a chip buttie."

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 06:00 AM

I'm not saying anything of the sort, Michael. I suggest you read what I've said again.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 06:45 AM

You have over-defined, Suibhne, it seems to me, by paying excessive attention to the "classical" & "popular" inclusions in the ICTM manifesto without sufficient regard to the important "traditional" qualifying adjective with which they have been careful to precede & define them. If you then go on to include that "traditional" within your all-embracing breadth of interpretation, then you seem to me to be on the verge of the sort of illogicality I postulate.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 06:52 AM

Once everybody got over the Tie a Yellow Ribbon distraction, I was expecting a bit of thought into this.

Seems some people have difficulty in differentiating folk with folk style. if you sing Sympathy for the Devil with Northumbrian pipes droning in the background, it could be argued it is in the folk style. If you listen to Mick jagger singing it with the rest of The Stones giving it welly, it is no less a folk song due to the historical narrative of the lyrics, but it is not in the folk style.

Martin Carthy sings Cum on Feel the Noize with great pathos and irony on The Imagined Village's Empire & Love album. it is in a folk style, but a folk song?

mmm... Just goes to show how you can never resolve a subjective debate.

Therefore, I remain comfortable with my earlier assessment. In fact, I reckon it makes the 1954 drivel obsolete.

next..


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 06:53 AM

To try and be a bit more specific: surely "popular" is used in the ICTM formulation in the sense in which Child used it in the title of his collection ~~ which, of course, was a term preferred to "Folk" even after W.J. Thoms's coinage of that term in 1846. Others use the term "classical", as you know, to refer to and define the sort of ballads that Child saw fit to include. It seems to me that there is an ambiguity, or an oxymoron {"traditional/popular/classical"}, within the ICTM definition which you and I interpret differently.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 07:22 AM

What the aims of the ITCM are stating is that all the genres are, in fact, Traditional Musics. This is what I'm saying too - that all music is born out of Tradition and Traditional Process, and that, as such, the conceptual 'Folk Music' of the 1954 Definition does not, and cannot, in fact exist as disctinct from any other music. What does exist, however, are a multiplity of idiomatic styles which we might think of as being Folk Musics, not because of how they evolved or came into being, but because of their genre, and, to a certain extent, their context.

How would the ethnomusicologist interpret the Michael Grosvenor Myer or Sedayne performances of Butter and Cheese and All other than in terms of revival conceits by way of the purposes of hobby & recreation? Sam Larner's singing of it is, of course, something very different indeed and this difference is a crucial one. I am not an Ethnomusicologist, but I've absorbed much of the discipline into my thinking over the years on account of both my personal associations and absurdly eclectic musical tastes. Whilst I believe all music is Traditional Music (the term is, of course, tautologous) I do not believe all music to be Folk Music, but I do believe all music can be folk muisic (with no little evidence to support this) in terms of its folklore, usage and context - especially with respect of The Revival (which is where I live too) where Streamin' Willie's folk style makes perfect sense. I've never heard The Imagined Village, but Jim Eldon is a classic example of this approach.

Otherwises I've pointed out before, there is no difference between Popular as used by Child to decribe the ballads in his collection, and Popular as used by record companies to decribe the bulk of what they promote, or Popular as used by the ITCM. Otherwise, where there is Folk, i.e. humanity, there will be Folklore and Tradition - it's something we humans do as naturally as language & all culture depends on it.


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Subject: RE: What isn't folk
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 07:56 AM

Quite so, Suibhne ~~ as I say, my interpretation of 'popular' as used by Child/ITCM (&, of course, by Brand ~ let us not forget his 18C 'Popular Antiquities' are what we would call folk [or 'traditional'] customs) differs fundamentally from yours; just as, in a different way, does my singing of B&C&A. However, there are infinite ways in which a song can be sung: but I don't think there is room for both our interpretations of the terms used by ITCM/Child/Brand on one hand & Tin Pan Alley on the other. You conflate them; I regard them as profoundly different.

To take a point from your last para: 'folk'='humanity' is possibly a defensible postulation; but 'Folk'='humanity' isn't. You are paltering here, I should say.


~Michael~


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