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BBC4 Christmas Session

theleveller 13 Dec 10 - 07:44 AM
evansakes 13 Dec 10 - 08:00 AM
Andy Jackson 13 Dec 10 - 08:09 AM
Will Fly 13 Dec 10 - 08:59 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM
Dave MacKenzie 13 Dec 10 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 13 Dec 10 - 10:07 AM
Rob Naylor 13 Dec 10 - 10:37 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 13 Dec 10 - 10:59 AM
Paul Davenport 13 Dec 10 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Silas 13 Dec 10 - 12:54 PM
Rob Naylor 13 Dec 10 - 02:11 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 04:06 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 04:29 AM
John MacKenzie 14 Dec 10 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Silas 14 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Silas 14 Dec 10 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,s-j in London 14 Dec 10 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,chris 14 Dec 10 - 07:04 AM
theleveller 14 Dec 10 - 07:47 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 08:50 AM
jacqui.c 14 Dec 10 - 10:21 AM
Trevor Thomas 14 Dec 10 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 10:42 AM
John MacKenzie 14 Dec 10 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Silas 14 Dec 10 - 10:50 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Silas 14 Dec 10 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Chris-Newbie-Guest 14 Dec 10 - 10:56 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 11:03 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 11:09 AM
John MacKenzie 14 Dec 10 - 11:16 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 14 Dec 10 - 11:32 AM
Will Fly 14 Dec 10 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,erbert 14 Dec 10 - 11:51 AM
Bounty Hound 14 Dec 10 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,glueman 14 Dec 10 - 01:17 PM
Dave MacKenzie 14 Dec 10 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,glueman 14 Dec 10 - 04:04 PM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 10 - 02:40 AM
VirginiaTam 15 Dec 10 - 02:42 AM
Rob Naylor 15 Dec 10 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,glueman 15 Dec 10 - 03:23 AM
GUEST,LDT 15 Dec 10 - 04:28 AM
Rob Naylor 15 Dec 10 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,glueman 15 Dec 10 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Penrith Pete 15 Dec 10 - 07:07 AM
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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 07:44 AM

Well, it were certainly better than nowt, as we say oop north.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: evansakes
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:00 AM

Over a hundred postings and I'm a bit surprised nobody has yet mentioned what an excellent performance Thea Gilmore provided on the night (or was it just me that thought this?)

As a result I went straight out to buy her Christmas CD last year......and bloody good it is too.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:09 AM

Carefull Twickfolk, that was a positive comment. This is Mudcat after all!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:59 AM

The Mudcat Miserable Buggers are really the worst thing about this site.

This sort of remark is always trotted out if a large number of posters on a thread are critical of such a show. It's not a case of being a miserable bugger or not - it's just a set of people with differing opinions using their critical faculties.

I notice that, when criticism is overwhelmingly positive, you don't read something like "The Mudcat Happy Clappies are really the best thing about this site". Do you? Well, I mentioned the St.Luke's programmes in an earlier post. So let me reaffirm that I thought June Tabor singing Richard Thompson's "Strange Affair", to the accompaniment of Martin Simpson, was stunning; that the Springsteen Seeger Sessions Band (16 musicians) concert was utterly outstanding - not being a follower of Springsteen, I was hugely impressed by his power and commitment; Randy Newman was enthralling in his concert.

So - lots of positive happy ticks - and just the same set of critical faculties that I applied to the Christmas Session show, which only got a few ticks from me.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 09:12 AM

Tom, very right about the BBC and confidentiality. "We don't need to sign confidentiality letters, we are English gentlemen". Yeah right.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:06 AM

Tom, you misinterpret me. I didn't hear poor technique either. As Will Fly points out, the band on the Seeger Sessions sounded like they enjoyed making music (I didn't rate Springsteen until then). So do the musicians on the Highland Sessions, even on something like "The Lament of the Three Maries". Not making technical mistakes isn't enough. If we want to spread the music to wider audience it's got be appealing - look at the positive response from non-cloggies on the Clog Dance programme.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:07 AM

Thank you Will. I now know I`m not alone.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:37 AM

Will's comments are spot on.

As Dave says, it wasn't about instrumental technique, or particularly the sound (which I found awful too)...it was about a missed opportunity to show people making excellent music together and really enjoying it.

Even one of the participants implicitly admits above that it was under-rehearsed and if done again would be done differently.

The comparison with say Transatlantic Sessions DOES hold water IMO...not just for the great sound and fine playing, but for the sheer joie de vivre from the participants that comes acoss when you watch it. Look at the expression on Aly McBain's face or the twinkle in Phil Cunningham's eyes as a tune "gells".

That was sadly missing here...to me the participants were going through the motions. It doesn't matter whether it was a "bit of fun" or not...they were going out on national TV and ought to have come across as being at least a *bit* "fired up" by it.

I persuaded a young friend to watch it and she was bored silly by it...in contrast to a Ralph McTell gig I took her to a few weeks ago...she'd never heard of him before, but came away enthused by his mastery of voice and guitar, but in particular by his sheer joy in performing.

There's a big difference between carping and reasoned criticism and I think most of the comments on this thread fall into the latter category.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:59 AM

Dave - I'm glad we cleared up about the playing - some of those guys are seriously good, and there was plenty of dexterity and sensitivity on display.

But I still think you may be confusing the subjective with the objective.

When you say "if we want to spread the music to wider audience it's got be appealing" you're making a very big assumption that it wasn't appealing to that wider audience. I don't think any of us really know - though we can be sure as eggs that the programme-makers and artists were aiming for such a result, and putting a lot of effort and resources into that outcome.

You were viewing it with informed eyes and ears from a very specialised and educated viewpoint. A vast majority of the audience were not.

I don't think I'm pushing things too far if I suggest that a majority of people here take folk music seriously. Not just the learning and presentation thereof, but the importance and cultural resonance thereof (I do myself).

It's both a good and a bad thing that folk music allows and even demands that its proponents take ownership of what is actually a musical commonwealth.

It's good because those who do so get far more out of the music than they would as mere consumers, and also because they then put back far more too. But it's bad when those inducted individuals start to behave as though they have somehow acquired quality control over the music - and begin to behave almost tribally about it.

I'm not accusing anyone of that here, but sometimes I read comments like those above and start to feel that we're seeing the thin end of that wedge.

The makers and artists in that show believed that their approach would deliver an appealing show. I think they did, but even if you didn't I hope you'd admit they had every right to try, should be given credit for doing so.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 11:13 AM

Tom, your expanded comments are most helpful. It is as I suspected but the detail is important too. I think there is room for a very thin wedge to be inserted here and I have an idea as to what might hammer it home. As you say, we can chew this over when next we meet. In the meantime, regarding the session Eliza has said it all as far as I'm concerned. The Clog dance thing and the Still folk dancing were both evidence that the media can do it right if properly guided.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 12:54 PM

Well, I just watched it on sky+.

Bloody brilliant.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 02:11 PM

Tom Bliss: You were viewing it with informed eyes and ears from a very specialised and educated viewpoint. A vast majority of the audience were not.

I'm not coming at it from an especially educated or specialised viewpoint. I've only re-ignited an interest in folk music in the last year or so, after spending many years listening almost exclusively to rock and indie stuff, and I'm not in any way "factionalised" or party to the squabbles of the cogniscenti.

I'm certainly not tribal or precious about it, and have admitted on here before to enjoying some of Laura Marling's stuff and even the odd Mumford & Sons song!

And my young friend who'd never heard of Ralph McTell but who was bored by this would be far closer to the "wider target audience" you talk about than most people on here. She voted with her remote very quickly, though she's quite broad-minded about music.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:06 AM

I'm rather cheekily reposting this from the fRoots forum, because I think it's important...

QUOTE

As John Crosby put it on Facebook:

Everyone who loved the weekend's folk+dancing TV programmes, should write to or email the BBC telling them so and asking for more. Lots of positive feedback about folk TV strengthens the hand of those producing the programmes. Our collective cultural voice needs to be a little louder in these times of cutbacks because folk / world musics are more in the firing line than Simon Cowell, et al, will ever be.

To send BBC4 encouraging feedback - the more of it they get the more chance there is of seeing more programming like this - there's an easy form to fill in at

www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/yoursay/

END OF

And perhaps I should add, just in case anyone hadn't grasped this from my previous posts, that a lot of negative feedback, such as some of the comments posted above, can weigh in towards the opposite result.

Obviously Mark Thompson doesn't read Mudcat (at least, I'd put a tenner on it) but it's not unknown for suits to browse forums like this one from time to time. It's therefore good if there is at least an element of objectivity and balance in any discussions around BBC shows, (even if the majority view is, by force majeure, negative).

None of the BBC folk-related output can be considered in the least bit safe - specially not radio.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:29 AM

that a lot of negative feedback, such as some of the comments posted above, can weigh in towards the opposite result

I think, Tom, that it really depends on the way that the comment is phrased. I think it's perfectly acceptable to say (in so many words), "Many thanks for putting on such-and-such a folk music based programme. It could have been even better if..."

In last year's debate on this same programme, many people thought that we should be grateful that the BBC had put this programme into the schedules. Never mind the quality (they said) just be thankful it was there, and don't knock it. There's so little folk music on TV that any crumb that's knocked off the table for us is like gold dust.

It's not a view I share. Yes - of course I'm pleased that the programme schedulers thought fit to have the programme created in the first place; but I'm not going to let that cloud my personal views and judgements on sound quality, presentation, character, etc. I would even go so far as to say that no folk music is preferable to one that's crappily produced and puts people off the idea. The excellence of the recent programmes on folk dancing and clogging shows that the standard is attainable.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:44 AM

ditto


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:56 AM

Just read a few more of the posts on this thread and I think I would like to shove my t'penece worth in.
I also watched the Cloggie programme and thought it was stunningly good. However, there is a world of difference in making a documentary over a period of weeks and filming a lively Christmas concert!
I have watched it twice now and thoroughly enjoyed it both times; the second time was with my 17yr old daughter who also thought it was fantastic.
One thing, having read some of these posts, that scares the shit out of me is phrases like 'appeal to a wider audience'. This is the very LAST thing that we should be doing. The music, tradition and performance are what they are; any attempt to 'dumb' it down to make it have a wider appeal is bound to end in tears.
Now, you may not personally like some of the performers, there may have been the odd bum note or missed timing - well, it don't matter, it was a live and lively performance and , as far as I could see, they all seemed to be enjoying it immensely. The very warm lighting and clever camera work gave the show a wonderful atmosphere. Paul Sartins slightly nervous role of MC, particularly as it was done in the almost inimitable style of the late Leonard Sachs was truly endearing.
Yep, a very definite thumbs up from me!

Can anyone tell me, when the Unthanks were singing that wonderful Tar Barrelling song, who was the girl fiddle player on their left (as you looked at them), she had a stunning voice.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 05:21 AM

Hi Silas - I'd wholeheartedly endorse your views on dumbing down - let the music be what it is.

As far as filming a live concert is concerned, of course there are different constraints from doing a documentary. But, as other BBC folk music concert programmes have proved, it's possible to do a first-class job. I keep quoting the Springsteen Seeger Sessions Band concert as an exemplar. It wasn't a complex programme visually, but the sound quality and mixing was superb. I suspect that the post-production sound of the Christmas Sessions left a bit to be desired - possibly rushed. But who knows...


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 06:23 AM

Hi Will
I think you have to separate yourself and your own expertise from your critical appraisal of this programme. I have seen a number of your videos and it is obvious that you are someone who knows what he is talking about when it comes to sound quality (I also read your piece on just how you make your videos - left me a bit glazed eyed to be honest, far to technical for me!) But for almost everyone watching the programme as a mere viewer, it was a grand spectacle. Sometimes I think knowing too much can spoil your enjoyment.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 06:30 AM

Well, the 'appeal to a wider audience' issue is a moot point, much discussed both here and elsewhere.

Popularising something always risks diluting it, but there's also a danger that if that thing is only ever presented in ways that only the initiated can appreciate, then the pool may empty faster than it fills up. That doesn't mean, of course, that doing the opposite will always have the opposite effect.

Terms like 'dumbing down' are, of course, highly subjective. One man's dumb is another man's lively and real. (There is also the argument that some elements of some traditions actually ARE all about Entertainment-with-a-capital-E - even dressing up and drunken lunacy - but please note my double use of the word 'some.')

Eliza expressed her worries very well above, and she's right that there is danger in going too far down this road - specially if this road is all that's happening. But it's not.

Last Friday and Saturday night we had, as well as this show, two dancing docs which were both very informed and balanced, and some archive shows that were at at times worthy, amateurish and dated. Of course these are attributes that we initiates laud for good reason, but which are less likely to appeal to outsiders.

So, including the Christmas show, overall we had a pretty balanced couple of evenings - with a lot of folk music on display to a very decent-sized audience. It was surely far better that ALL those shows were broadcast than not.

Specifically to Will: I agree entirely. And if the tone of this thread had been "many thanks for putting on such-and-such a folk music based programme. It could have been even better if..." I wouldn't never have put finger to keyboard.

Even if it had been "Actually I thought is was poor in these ways..." as some more thoughtful people said, I'd have lurked on, while perhaps feeling sympathy for the poor mugs who worked very hard on that show, and probably felt they pulled off a pretty decent result.

But in the early stages it was neither of these, and while I'd never expect those who love to have a good old bash at anything that doesn't float their boat to restrain themselves, I do think it's important that they are aware of the effect that their comments may have on their targets (who, in this case, certainly are readers of Mudcat) and perhaps others who might drop by (or be directed here) and take away reasons not to make any more folk shows.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,s-j in London
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 07:01 AM

@ Silas, that would be Niopha Keegan fiddle player with The Unthanks, she is a lovely singer.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 07:04 AM

Valiant effort Tom - but the programme was indefensible.
Could have been, should have been better.
chris


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: theleveller
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 07:47 AM

It was certainly no worse than the usual New Year 'Later With Jools Holland', and a couple of glasses of red wine put me in the right mood. Like carol singers who come round, not necessarily the best performances but definitely the right spirit.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 08:50 AM

Silas
Sometimes I think knowing too much can spoil your enjoyment.

Mmm... It's not so much knowing too much as (for me) probably expecting too much. I'd really looked forward to this programme last year with a great sense of expectation - particularly after having been knocked out by the Bellowhead live experience at Lewes before that.

When the programme finished, I thought, is that it? And other members of the family were also unimpressed. Just genuinely disappointed and a sense of being let down.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: jacqui.c
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:21 AM

I watched the programme on Friday night. Living now in the USA I am rather out of touch with the professional folk scene in the UK and the new artistes who seem to be up and coming.

IMHO, for the most part, I have heard much better singers at song circles and sessions. To me, the various carols were murdered, not sung. Last night, at the folk club I attended, there were two female singers who would knock the girls on Friday night into a cocked hat. One the guys there made a much better job of In The Bleak Midwinter. To me, it looks like folk is imitating pop, favouring girlies with thin, breathy voices. Not at all impressive to me, and to other folk enthusiasts I have spoken to since.

Now, being of an older generation, I would doubt that my opinion would have any real validity insofar as those who decide what will and will not be broadcast, but I do wonder what the future of folk will be if these performances are anything to go by.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Trevor Thomas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:38 AM

I was more than disappointed, I'm afraid. I saw it last year and I found the whole thing toe-curlingly embarrassing from start to finish.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:42 AM

Jacqui.c - folk always did, to a certain extent, imitate pop - or its contemporary equivalent, and pop has occasionally been refreshed by folk - c/f skiffle, blues, music hall, broadsides/broadsheets, court music etc.

'Thin and breathy' is one approach - there are lots of others, and none of them is intrinsically any better than any other, just different. We all have our preferences, but all approaches are valid - time, and only time, takes care of everything else.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:47 AM

I think folk came before pop.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:50 AM

Well.............I suppose folk was pop at one time?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:53 AM

for the most part, I have heard much better singers at song circles and sessions

Exactly. I was at the Rising Sun, Charlwood village monthly singaround last night, where we sung the song in the link below. (This was recorded by me with a Zoom H2 in the pub about a year ago but sounded just the same last night):

From The Old Half Moon To The Rising Sun

The first voice is that of local singer Sue Gates, with Cathy Barclay and Colin Gates (husband of Sue and author of the song) - followed by the company in the choruses. Call me old-fashioned, but I cherish this monthly singaround and nothing gets in the way of me going to it. Can you hear why?


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:55 AM

Yes, but to be fair, you have probably heard much, much worse singers at the same sessions.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,Chris-Newbie-Guest
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 10:56 AM

I'm glad when the BBC puts on any folk music Progs, and I've just emailed the BBC's Chairman, Mark Thompson, to tell him so !
    mark.thompson@bbc.co.uk


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:03 AM

Yes, but to be fair, you have probably heard much, much worse singers at the same sessions.

Well... not really, as it happens. But if I had, I wouldn't expect to see them on BBC4.

I'm always conscious that taste is a very personal thing. I don't care for the "thin, breathy voices" mentioned by jacqi.c either, because - to me - there's nothing exciting in the quality of them. If you do, good luck to you.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:09 AM

Will, those are great voices, but that stylistic approach, even though accepted as 'correct' in some folk circles, does not have a monopoly on greatness. There a lots of people who genuinely prefer the sound that Rachel, Becky and Lisa produce, and I honestly don't think it's a youth thing, or a fashion thing, or a marketing thing, or even a sex thing.

Some voices just come out differently, and some people simply feel more comfortable with a softer delivery. If the tuning and timing are fine (which they are), then the phrasing lies in the gift of the singer

There's a huge difference between "I prefer this" and "This is better."

Open-minds, open ears, open hearts. That's what's needed around here, specially in the 'season of good Will'

Cheers

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:16 AM

Without amplification, you couldn't hear them sing, from behind a tram ticket!


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:17 AM

The only problem with the "all approaches are valid" hypothesis, Tom, is that you can then reach a fine and indefinable line between what is considered reasonable singing and what is not. Or is there no such thing? There are indeed all styles of singing and approaches to performance, and I don't particularly care whether they're correct or not. I wouldn't know what 'correct' is.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:32 AM

I'm glad to hear it Will, and to be honest I didn't expect anything else.

The point is that your friends at the session - like all the other people that some here would like to have been on TV last Friday - were not invited. The BBC knew what they wanted, and they got it - everything else is just ooffle dust.

The girls were invited, they happen to sing in that way, they gave it their best, and lots of people will have thought they sounded fine.

Criticising them for the way they sing is akin to complaining that Man U don't use the right cricket bats.

And as for the volume/amplification thing, well there are LOTS of really successful singers, including some you'll see on Transatlantic Sessions and the like, who are almost inadible in real life.

We live in the 21st century where microphone are commonplace. It is no longer necessary to be able to fill La Scala to get the gig. So we've been able to welcome a whole new small-voiced sound into the repertoire, and the repertoire is all the richer for it.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:45 AM

The BBC knew what they wanted, and they got it

No question of that - but that's not an argument for excellence or anything else. Go down that road and we'll be saying that no bad programmes have ever been made in the history of BBC broadcasting.

However, I think we all know where we individually stand on this particular programme, and I suppose we'll just have to agree to beg to differ. So I'll stop being a mouldy old fig and end by hoping that the BBC will put on many more programmes in the genre to match that of the Folk dance and clogging programmes... and the Transatlantic Sessions... and the Springsteen session... and the June Tabor session... :-)


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 11:51 AM

I don't sing in public because I think my voice is useless and not good enough
for my own listening standards, so use the excuse that I can't confidently remember words
[which is true] or melodies.
However with or without aid of a microphone, my doting elderly mother would, and who knows who else might,
praise me for having a marvelous voice for 'folk' music ???

Point is I take it as 'given' that no-one on stage performing for this xmas special
would have been selected if they didn't already meet certain widely agreed criteria of artistic worthiness & value.

My personal complaint with the entire production package is it's cringeworthy
showing off of elitist upper middle class bohemian vanity & conceit.

But then I can't tolerate or like jools holland & his on screen TV chums much for similar reasons..


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 12:12 PM

Tom: 'and I honestly don't think it's a youth thing, or a fashion thing, or a marketing thing,'

Of course it is, these are amongst the acts that get the 'hype' from the media, festival organisers etc etc. That is precisely why it was these acts, and not you, (or even me) in the show, or any other act that could have done an equally as good or if not better job.

That said, although my opinion (as stated earlier in this thread) is that the show was perhaps under rehearsed (read Jim Moray's post) and did not come up to the standard that we might have been entitled to expect from some excellent performers, I am delighted that there are folk acts attracting such media attention, that can only be a good thing for us all and long may it continue.

John


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 01:17 PM

It was aimed at a younger folk demographic than Mudcat, not my demographic I hasten to add but I'll wager the under 40s that made up most of the audience thought it a hoot. Now't wrong with that.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 03:46 PM

As someone who has taken part in "Songs of Praise" (scratch choirs of largely amateur singers) most non-folkies would have switched off by the second line of "In the Bleak Mid Winter". It's a well known Christmas Carol and the Unthanks' treatment could only have been got away with by Infant Sunday School.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 04:04 PM

It was non-folkies who's have stayed for two attractive young women in charming surroundings with an audience clearly enjoying themselves listening to a lovely old carol. The rest is propaganda.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 02:40 AM

sigh... it is a done deal. Nothing to be done about it now. People have had their say.

Let's start talking about specifics of what we would like to see.

Artists,
Songs,
Themes
Setting

Here's

Jim Moray to take another crack at Oh Come Immanuel or (and I think this would be brilliant) Dark December by Graeme Miles with harmonies provided by Sam Lee. Or vice versa.

Jackie Oates and Sam Lee to sing The Trees Are All Bare (Coppers, The Christmas Song)

Eliza and Norma to sing All Hail To The Days

Bellowhead and others to do The Christmas Band by Brian Ingham Ramskyte, Dark December

Everyone to sing Summer Is A Coming In Again by Mick Ryan?

Unthanks please do The Seven Joys of Mary

Jim Causley anything he wants to sing :0)

I wanna see/hear Martin Carthy, Chris Wood, Spiers and Boden, Lucy Ward, SoH, and innumerable others.

Still thinking about the big finish.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 02:42 AM

oops! I should have finished with come all ye and surprise me.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 02:54 AM

Where's your evidence that younger non-folkies either stayed watching or thought it a "hoot", Glueman?

I only have a sample of 1, as described above...a young woman in her early 30s who I recommended to watch it after earlier introducing her to Ralph McTell (who she was enthusiastic about) and who voted with her remote after 5 minutes. She thought it was "crap".


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 03:23 AM

No 'evidence' whatsoever Rob - you'd have to get the viewing figures for that - but I know enough about the workings of television to know this wasn't aimed at a folk-core audience. It was a themed show hoping for crossover viewers, particularly nu-folk buyers who barely know clubs exist and wouldn't dream of entering one if they did.

I don't see where Ralph McTell comes into it, he's hardly an example of the tradition, unless you mean the folk pop revival of the 1970s, or possibly white blues. There were sufficient shows aired this weekend to cater for most tastes, grumbling about a repeat of a Christmas show that set out to do exactly what it intended is cumudgeonliness.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 04:28 AM

Like the idea but just not keen on the 'christmas theme'.
Watched about first 10mins then the carols just started to annoy me so I switched over. If they would have just done it without the christmassy stuff would have probably stayed up to watch it.

Would have preferred something more along the lines of the Ralph Vaughn Williams day I went to as cecil sharp house ages ago. But in a telly format.

24/F/UK and only a folk fan since 2008.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 04:47 AM

I explained further up the thread where Ralph McTell came into it...ie that I took a young lady to one of his gigs, she never having heard of him before, and on the basis of that she was interested in listening to some more "folky-type" stuff (and not even aware of the graduations of "folk pop", "nu-folk", "trad folk" etc....as I wasn't until a year or so ago!).

I also mentioned in the same post that I like some nu-folky stuff myself, so am hardly a "dyed in the wool traddie". In fact, until a year or so ago the vast majority of my listening was to rock and fairly obscure young indie bands. Both she and I ought, therefore, on your own criteria, to be right in the middle of your supposed target audience. I thought it was badly done, but watched to the end, and she turned off after about 10 minutes. So that's 100% in a sample of 2.

At least that *is* evidence, though from a tiny sample. Your own unequivocal comments about who were the target audience and who would have stayed watching were themselves "just propaganda" apparently, since the statements were made without any evidence whatsoever to back them up.


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Subject: RE: BBC4 Christmas Session
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 05:11 AM

Depends what you mean by evidence Rob. I have a working knowledge of the way gogglebox programmes are commissioned from knowing people who ply their trade in the medium. Saying it was 'badly done' makes no sense when compared to similar television output. It wasn't a major 12 part series called The History of English Folk Music and pre-sold to Commonwealth broadcasters and the States and sponsored by National Geographic and Microsoft, it was a light-hearted Christmas special with a lightly ironic traditional theme and setting.

As LDT points out the carols are probably the biggest turn off for a folk audience with enlightenment / roundhead / digger sensibilities, which is a working majority. I like hearing carols but then I'm sufficiently interested to record them being sung well and badly by all kinds of people. Those people who are exercised at being somehow misrepresented are barking up the wrong tree IMHO. I still fail to see how someone liking Ralph McTell is a barometer of anything.


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Subject: my 10 pen'th...
From: GUEST,Penrith Pete
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 07:07 AM

Dear Mudcatters

I am 33 and have listened to what most people would regard as folk music pretty exlusively for the last 8 or so years. This really means acoustic music largely played on wooden instruments and inlcudes traditional and contemporary tunes and songs. I am not remotely snobby about anything else - I just have fairly defined tastes. Punk, ska, jazz and prog-rock have all enjoyed my attention as a younger bloke too!

I suppose I found the programme somewhat unbearably light to be honest. As I get older I find I am more comforatble with being a relatively serious minded fellow. I can do fun (and have probably done more than my share!) but I am not great the very contrived or zaney stuff, I admit.

In terms of the performances, well, I thought they were bit dodgy in places and won't pick out individuals, since they are all still much better than me and my guitar. I will say I thought Thea Gimore was excellent though! I thought Jim Moray's comments on here were very straightly spoken, which I really respected.

Christmas to me is one of those few times when our often (and recently) buried folk-culture rises nearer the surface and we remember some of things that link us together as humans in communities. I look forward to the weightiness and visceral nature of Christmas as well as its jolliness (which is also great). I suppose for my taste, I would have liked to see a more simple session allowing the music to do the talking and delving a bit deeper into the treasure trove of festive songs in our tradition (old and new). I like to be provoked to think a bit more, espcially about others at Christmas, as well as to have a rollocking good time.

Now this is only my taste and is not a dig at the show. I was just left a bit flat - and at times cringed a bit to be honest - but perhaps I need to work on this business of having fun! Or maybe accept I am a miserable north country type!

Anyway, I hope you all have a very merry Chrstmas and find time to dip into your own folk culture and well as waiting for the BBC to deliver it. I can forget to do that sometimes, myself. So, sing carols, write one if you like, make merry and if you like to think deeply about things at this time fo year, do some of that too.

A special good wish to the perfromers who have taken a bit of flack on here and some of it a bit personal I reckon. You all do much for the genre, I believe, irrespective of where my tastes lie. It looked a tricky gig and I would love to see you all back in a different format next year.

All the best to you all

Pete


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