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How can we make folk music more apealing

Jon Freeman 23 Sep 99 - 12:35 PM
MMario 23 Sep 99 - 12:38 PM
Tracey 23 Sep 99 - 12:47 PM
j0_77 23 Sep 99 - 12:53 PM
selby 23 Sep 99 - 01:01 PM
GeorgeH 23 Sep 99 - 01:06 PM
annamill 23 Sep 99 - 01:20 PM
catspaw49 23 Sep 99 - 02:36 PM
Bert 23 Sep 99 - 02:42 PM
paddymac 23 Sep 99 - 03:07 PM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 99 - 03:18 PM
Tom B. 23 Sep 99 - 03:24 PM
Lonesome EJ 23 Sep 99 - 03:46 PM
JR 23 Sep 99 - 04:29 PM
Chet W. 23 Sep 99 - 04:46 PM
catspaw49 23 Sep 99 - 05:24 PM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 99 - 05:44 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Sep 99 - 05:57 PM
lamarca 23 Sep 99 - 06:19 PM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 99 - 06:22 PM
WyoWoman 24 Sep 99 - 08:59 AM
Neil Lowe 24 Sep 99 - 09:11 AM
GutBucketeer 24 Sep 99 - 12:50 PM
Mudjack 24 Sep 99 - 01:37 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 25 Sep 99 - 01:24 PM
Bill D 25 Sep 99 - 08:26 PM
Bev and Jerry 25 Sep 99 - 09:35 PM
_gargoyle 26 Sep 99 - 01:16 AM
Joe Offer 26 Sep 99 - 02:05 AM
Bev and Jerry 26 Sep 99 - 02:25 AM
Garry of Australia 26 Sep 99 - 04:43 AM
Frank Hamilton 26 Sep 99 - 09:56 AM
northfolk/al cholger 26 Sep 99 - 05:42 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 26 Sep 99 - 06:56 PM
Joe Mahon, Princeton, NJ 26 Sep 99 - 07:32 PM
WyoWoman 27 Sep 99 - 01:01 AM
Joseph 27 Sep 99 - 02:37 AM
Sam Pirt 27 Sep 99 - 05:12 AM
GeorgeH 27 Sep 99 - 09:18 AM
Frank Hamilton 27 Sep 99 - 10:55 AM
Paul G. 27 Sep 99 - 12:14 PM
Paul G. 27 Sep 99 - 12:14 PM
Frank Hamilton 27 Sep 99 - 01:14 PM
Andy 28 Sep 99 - 03:42 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 28 Sep 99 - 10:02 AM
Frank Hamilton 28 Sep 99 - 11:21 AM
GeorgeH 28 Sep 99 - 12:05 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 28 Sep 99 - 01:36 PM
Andy 29 Sep 99 - 08:54 AM
Frank Hamilton 29 Sep 99 - 10:32 AM
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Subject: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 12:35 PM

In Why doesn't our music sell, why bad music sells and why Johnny can't sing. There have been a number of comments about youngters, education etc.

Rightly or wrongly, I feel that a number of us (and certainly myself) have got caught up in the negative aspects and would like to start a new thread that addresses the question:

"What can we do to get more youngsters involved in folk music?"

Jon


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: MMario
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 12:38 PM

exposure. Most people don't dislke folk music or traditional music, they dislike what they THINK folk or traditional music consists of. And they are quite frequently wrong.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Tracey
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 12:47 PM

Exactly. Get more people singing it-at home, in school, or if some band like Steeleye would come along and make a splash; familiarity breeds content. Some of the best times I've had lately were at a good old rousing Pub Sing.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: j0_77
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 12:53 PM

Wrong wrong its all wrong ... kidding I must say the kids where ever I live love folk music - oddly they like the Banjo more than anything else especially old timey mountain type songs - ie sung with a Banjo backing.

Froggy went a courtin

Cave dat possum

Ole Rattler is a blind ole dawg
Good as he can be but every night at supper time
Believe that dawg can see
:)
Hey Rattler heah boy
Hey Rattler hey


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: selby
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 01:01 PM

There are lots of youngsters performing but in the main they are children of exsisting folkies. The tradition is knocking on the door as can be seen by Norma Waterson & Kate Rusby geting nominated for a Mercury prize. But unfortunately we are yet to appeal to a wider audience but does that bring it's own problems. If you go to european countries on the hol's we are bombardied with traditional dancing & music on the Hotel's theme night there tradition for that may have taken a battering as it looses spontanaty. I wonder wether we should keep quite, keep it to ourselves & enjoy it but that's a negative & selfish attitude.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: GeorgeH
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 01:06 PM

Don't patronise the kids.

Don't trivialise the music.

Don't put down THEIR (peer-group) music.

Encourage them to listen to ANYTHING - and be ready to do the same yourself. (Norma Waterson gives great credit to the fact that her family listened to a very wide range of music).

Make sure they get some of the BEST folk-related performers to listen to.

Encourage them to perform, together. If you've got some reasonable musicians get them working "by ear" (not a skill that ranks large in a more "classical" musical training).

Treat them as fellow human being and work at having good relations with them; kids rejecting their parents' music (or what they see as such) is most often far more a rejection of the parents than of the music!

Be far more ready with praise than with criticism, and constructive with the critisism you do offer. And if you're going to offer criticism make sure you're ready to take it, too!

Accept you ain't going to win them all and don't get despondant.

G.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: annamill
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 01:20 PM

I think that folk is resurging strongly. When I had my first gathering, I was amazed at how many locals responded when told. I found gatherings around my area and I've met a lot of musicians that play. Also, surprise, surprise. A lot of the musicians that came to our rock jams also play folk and blues. ;-0.

I think it would take a couple of hit records to bring it back. Probably just needs marketing. If I had a good deal of money, I would help to increase the marketing budget of Folk-Legacy. Radio spots, TV shows (infomercials), good press, bad press (they say as long as they spell your name right), large well publicized concerts, giving packages to the school systems, like campbell soup does, etc. Folk-Legacy could put coupons into each recording and give the school one dollar for each coupon received. The school might promote the music if it might gain something. Sorry, Sandy and Caroline. ;-)

It could be done. I think, though, it may happen by itself. It's already growing. Doesn't anyone else see an increase in the interest, or are we in our own little worlds?

Now don't get mad. It works for everything else. Look at Billy Graham, etc.

Love, annap


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 02:36 PM

I posted this on one of the other threads to which the astute Mr. Freeman refers and rather than retype...CLICK HERE.......Thanks.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Bert
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 02:42 PM

Great 'Spaw. You gonna bring some dulcimers to the Getaway and show us all how to do the same?


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: paddymac
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 03:07 PM

Like lots of other things, most people tend to fix their musical preferences on whatever was popular in their peer group as teenagers. If that be true, we should endeavor to get various kinds of folk music (and other arts) presented to pre-teen and early teen kids. Their horizons are expanding fairly rapidly at that stage in life and they need exposure to many different minds of music, and other things as well. Even if they don't latch on to then, it will at least have some familiarity to them the next time they are exposed to it. Note there is a substantial difference between "exposure" and "forced feeding". How long was "folk" in the dumps before the "revival" of the 50's? Maybe we need to emphasize more that "folk" is music that people make for themselves, and that they don't need to be professional caliber musicians to contribute and have fun doing it. I often wonder whether the modern availability of professional music at the flick of a switch discourages the mass of people from even trying, or worse, even suspecting that they can and should make music for themselves. Ah, well, time to shove the soap box way back in the closet again.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 03:18 PM

Oh, my....Catspaw learned hos to make blue clicky things. We're in big trouble now....

If you're going to help kids appreciate folk music, I think it's important to avoid pretense. If you worry too much about making a song authentic, you'll bore the kids to tears. If you make a song your own and sing it like you love it, the kids will quite likely love it, too.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Tom B.
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 03:24 PM

We need more music (not just folk music) promoted in the schools. Our culture needs to value the arts and honest, humble aspiration (hope that doesn't sound TOO innocent).

Like most things, especially politics, such moving of the tides cannot be done by one person, but by people bonded in like interest. It would, I think, require, as all good ideas which come "before their time", individuals to catalyze movement in the right direction. Please take two steps forward, and do it.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 03:46 PM

Sure, funds to schools have been cut, especially in areas like art and music (the non-essentials?) But I am betting that those of us who have the least proficiency with music would be welcomed by most elementary school teachers if we proposed to teach the kids a session on Traditional Music. A guitar, some basic rhythm instruments, and enough lyric sheets to be passed among the kids should be all that's required. Maybe we can send those 4th graders into 5th grade singing Shenandoah instead of the latest from Disney or New Kids on the Block.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: JR
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 04:29 PM

I'm with Joe... Don't analize it to death. Include anybody who thinks they are folk, and let it show how much fun it is to get a few people together to play and share the music.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Chet W.
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 04:46 PM

Great subject and good suggestions so far, and I mean to give this some thought, but here are just a few problems that would have to be overcome, which I have thought about a lot:

-"Folk" music, whatever the hell that means, is by definition handed down, up, and sideways by the oral tradition, so I'm not sure if there is a mass media way to popularize it without changing it a lot.

-Oral traditions are passed around in communities, which is one thing that is very rare, at least in a geographic sense, in the US anymore.

-And, (I think this may be relevant), what was always called "country" music in the past (I still claim that word, despite its current misuse) was made to some extent by and for people with some agricultural or at least rural background. The same would be true of any kind of traditional music you could name; it developed and prospered (or not) in a community, in the sense of a village or a neighborhood or at least a region or a small country. Now that we create our own communities, I'm not sure that it still has the sort of "heritage" kind of feel that it used to have.

These may have been three ways of saying the same thing, and I'm not just trying to be negative, but these are things that I think we have to consider. I'll be back with constructive ideas. I really like the one about volunteering to play in the schools.

Chet


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 05:24 PM

Gee Joe...you haven't noticed I've been doing blue clickies for months and months??? Otherwise how would I ever have posted all that "door" stuff at the tavern.....stop by more often! But if you don't get a chance Father Joebro, here's ONE FOR YOU!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 05:44 PM

Catspaw, the Christian Deer Hunters have you in their sights.
You're in big trouble now, Spaw. No blue clicky's gonna get you out of it.
Confessions will be held at 5 PM. Maybe that will work, or at least let you die a happy death.
I imagine the deer hunters don't think fondly of confession, so they probably have me in their sights, too.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 05:57 PM

Why do I keep falling for your devilish plans Catspaw? Perhaps someone someone can create the "Catspaw Dance" site. I see one little Catspaw maddly dancing away as 300 cowpokes shoot up the floor just beneath his twinkling feet.

I'm confused at times when I see kids' entertainers trying so hard to present the music in a "contemporary" fashion. Very current rock oriented. At least that isn't as bad as the "Broadway" style that so many have gotten into over the last few years. I think you can be very "retro" in your approach and if you're a likeable sort, the kids will get into it. As always (like a broken record) I believe in teaching the little buggers how to play simple (folk) musical instruments.

Rick


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: lamarca
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 06:19 PM

I've noticed that many of the major figures in the British "Folk Revival" of the 60's and 70's seem to be a lot more flexible in their tastes than many of the local folkies I know around here. Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson do exquisite traditional music, but they also perform and enjoy rock - witness Martin's membership in Steeleye Span, his talented performance of "Tortoise From Hell" a la Maltloaf on "Oranges and Lemmings" (Mrs. Ackroyd Band), Norma's recording of Jerry Garcia's "Black Muddy River", etc. Eliza Carthy and Kirsty MacColl are two folk-daughters whose sales aren't hurting among folks their age.

Over here in the US, the 20-something folk crowd has bands like Cordelia's Dad, Eileen Ivers Band and the Freighthoppers doing today's equivalent of the English folk/rock trip. I myself don't like a lot of their stuff, but as someone who discovered traditional music by listening to Fairport Convention in college, I think that there will always be a few (never a LOT of) people who discover traditional folk styles by listening to modern renditions and are curious enough to look up the origins. With today's outpouring of CD re-releases of older source recordings like the Lomax collections, Topic's Voice of the People, etc., so much more is available today than was ever around when I first started getting interested.

Our big problem in the DC area is getting people interested in running a folk bureauocracy: doing all the work involved in running a club, putting on a big folk festival, booking and publicizing concerts, etc. As our members get older and have children, houses(in need of repair), more responsible jobs and/or arthritis, the ability and willingness to do the grunt work to provide exposure to OUR tastes in "Folk" performers is decreasing - and there's no influx of 20-30-year-olds clamoring to help. But that's another thread topic....

P.S. Sister Mary Elephant will get you for that dance, Spaw...("'Spaw...'Spaw.....'Spaw.......WAKE UP!!!!)


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 06:22 PM

Hi, Rick - what's hard to understand about the "contemporary" style you speak of is that it's a very commercial style, more akin to elevator music than the music that's popular with kids. Same with church music that's directed at kids. I think kids appreciate honesty in their music, just like we do.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: WyoWoman
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 08:59 AM

The whole field of "world music" is folk music, at least it's folk-based. It's just that the definition of folk might be expanding to include non-European, English-speaking folk music. Which I believe is a very important and wonderful development.

I think it's important, as someone mentioned above, to be flexible -- the task is to hold the line enough that tradition does keep in the mix, but to be inclusive enough that "trad" doesn't become (or continue to be) a Members-only club.

And when young people do show up, don't interact with them as if they're the ignoramuses and you're the keeper of the flame. Not being a "regular folkie" (I'm an irregular, just as in every other aspect of my life), I've seen this treatment up close and personal. It's even worse when a young person is involved.

People are hungry for good stories, and so many folk songs have endured because they're wonderful stories. People (children, especially) are also hungry for music and ready to be turned on to the fact that they can participate in music, not just consume it. I think one way to go is to involve the musicians in our communities with programs that somehow teach kids to take music into their own hands. And to make sure that we allow our "folk" music to reflect the diversity of our cultures.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 09:11 AM

As I have three (relatively) young kids at home, (ages 9, 9, and 13), my approach is to try to change the world on a micro level, by exposing the kids to folk, blues, jazz, what-have-you, through example. They have gotten used to hearing their crazy dad go from Miles Davis, to Bob Dylan, to Memphis Slim, to Ralph Stanley in one sitting. And when they see me bring out and tune up the trusty six-string, to learn "Man of Constant Sorrow," or "Blind Fiddler," I can't help but think that it makes an impression on them, especially if I actually learn to play the tune.

Regards, Neil


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 12:50 PM

I am finding that there are actually many different circles of folk who like folk (I live in the DC area).

It may be that with all of the new ways to communicate, e-mail, etc. our singular "folk" community has broken into many smaller ones. There is bluegrass, shanty singing, old-time, irish sessions, etc. Once you are involved with them they all seem like a great group of folks. Personally, I can vouch for the openness and friendliness of all autoharpers and shanty singers. The two monthly shanty sings in D.C. especially are open to new comers.

If we are not careful, however, each can seem insular and offputting, especially when we focus on the boundaries of the genre. Is it, or isn't it traditional? That autoharp can't play bluegrass! The "right" way to sing that traditional song is...

I think all too often we are too oriented toward the great music, musicians, and events that happened in the past, or how obscure a reference we can make. Picture a newcomer just learning and singing a traditional tune they have learned when an old timer comes up and starts telling them of when they heard the original done by the Carter Family, or you should have been there in 1963.... Worse is when they say I remember when xxx played that tune. Now the correct way to play it is... Do you think the Newbies will come back???

The best way to expand the folk circles is to be aware of what Newbies are going through. Invite them in. Don't show off your knowledge but share your knowledge. And most important be Open, and help Mentor Newbies.

JAB


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Mudjack
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 01:37 PM

Children in their earlist years have no inhibitions, want to sing and play music.Do the Kindergarten rythymn band exsist anymore? Remember the bells, triangles sticks whistles that formed those basic march around the class songs? Singing folk songs in grade school was a normal part of our class time(mid 1950's). I have to believe today's schools believe to much on the LEARN-LEARN-LEARN and have no time for the music. I recall that each classroom had autoharps and the teachers played them flat on the tables and we sang. I rememeber reachers would put on these giant phonograph records and we would listen to classical, show tunes,folk songs and anything that would strike an interest to our inquisitive minds.I'm not a mathematitical genius and my my english skills may be lacking, but looking back on time and not knowing what todays kids are doing in the class room, musically we were not deprived.
I addressed this school music topic before and one of our Mudcatters summed it up beautifully by suggesting we volunteer our singing and playing to our community's and schools so to educate the youngsters to the folk music. Nice idea, except I have friends that earn their livings doing just that. Bev and Jerry (mudcatters) have been doing this for years. I could'nt begin to relate to these kids like these folks do. I would be willing to try in an effort to educate and expose folk music to their ears and minds.
Today's youth seem to be far more into the electronic know how and need to have the flashy noise computer imaged everything in their world. Folks, I'm afraid that is the real world and we are in a fantasy world wanting to keep it like it use to be. I have notice that the younger these childre are, the more interested they are in the sounds that come from a real piano, guitar or banjo. Once they have exposure to the exciting flash,pop,cartoons, television, radio, the idea of boring folk music just losses it's appeal.IMHO
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 25 Sep 99 - 01:24 PM

Patsclaw, I'm willing to grant you the thirty points you need. I'm willing even to share my title with you. But I'm not willing to stand next to you in a thunderstorm. (I haven't laughed so hard since I saw "Bowfinger.") --seed


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Sep 99 - 08:26 PM

No, don't click it..it doesn't go anywhere...I just could NOT leave "ChristianDeerHunters" alone...


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 25 Sep 99 - 09:35 PM

As mudjack mentioned, we are starting our nineteenth year of performing in schools. We do mostly traditional songs with a few comtemporary or original songs in the traditional style thrown in. We rarely have any difficulty keeping the attention of even the yountest kids for fifty minutes or more.

The trick is to do songs kids like. We select songs through good judgement. How did we get good judgement? We got it through bad judgement. Kids seem to like some songs and they don't like others. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. But, they definitely like folk music and are very open to the idea that it's music we do together.

Also, most days after our performance we do hands-on programs in which kids get to play autoharps, limberjacks, and spoons. This proves to them that they, too, can make music. The joyful expression on kids' faces never cease to amaze us when they master something on one of these instruments.

All kids need is adequate exposure and we can create another generation just like us. Maybe even better.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: _gargoyle
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 01:16 AM

play it to a disco-slap-beat.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 02:05 AM

Bev and Jerry, you may be just the people I need. Now that I'm almost retired, I'd like to get back to singing in schools. I've done it only on a limited basis in the past, and used my usual repertoire of camp songs and stories.
Can you give us a list of songs that really "work" for kids, and tell us what age groups you think they're suited for?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 02:25 AM

Joe:

There's no magic formula. What works for us might not work for you and vice versa. But, from other of your postings we know that most of the songs you do will work with kids.

Why did we all learn the same songs in camp? Because kids have liked these songs for generations. Believe it or not, we both went to the same summer camp when we were kids about fifty years ago and learned the same songs. Now we do them in schools and, guess what, kids still like 'em. Songs like Rise and Shine, I've Been Workin' on the Railroad, The Titanic.

For little kids, say up to grade two, keep them involved. Nearly every song we do for that age has a part for them to do like clapping, hand movements, call and response, etc. For older kids, say grades three to five, repetitive songs are dynamite like Just Passing By and Green Grass Grew all Around. For still older kids humor works well. Our most requested song is Bill Steel's Garbage followed closely by Arkansas Traveller and Foolish Questions. Also, we tell a lot of stories. For kids who think they're too old to listen to stories, we call them folk tales!

Does this help?

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Garry of Australia
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 04:43 AM

Not play folk music


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 09:56 AM

You can't make folk music more appealing than it is in my opinion. What you can do is find a way to involve people in it that have not been exposed to it before. The best way is "hands on". Get them to sing and play and own it. That's what we tried to do at the Old Town School years ago.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 05:42 PM

Start by not changing the music... then struggle every day to educate and agitate against the agenda of corporate america, where they steal our airwaves and fill it full of pop culture pablum, and convince us to stand in line for days on end to see the likes of the spice girls... expose our young to singing and storytelling, not in the context that the song or story is so important...but that the reason to tell it, and pass it on, is. then reallize that this may not change as soon as we would like it to, but: Step by step, the longest march can be run, many stones can form an arch, singly, none. and by union, what we will, can be accomplished, still. Drops of water turn a mill, singly none.... good things are happening...the times they are a changin'...


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 06:56 PM

I am so sick of hearing the "party line" about corporate America and agitating and standing together, and all that other tired old, warmed over leftist stuff--this is not a war--

the best thing about traditional and folk music, whatever you might think it happen to be, is that it continues to be reborn spontaneously with every new singer--and the melodies, the fragments of verse, the stories just keep coming back, slightly altered, with each new generation--

I say bless every one who lifts a voice and takes out a guitar, banjo, ukulele, triangle, even electronic keyboard, with the intent to entertain--however they manage to make it work!


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Joe Mahon, Princeton, NJ
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 07:32 PM

Several thoughts come to mind.

First and foremost, make it fun. I grew up playing banjo and guitar, and have since taken up harmonica and concertina, so I have been greatly immersed in traditional music. After several years of not playing, I took all my instruments form my parents' home when my kids were young so that they could see that music is something we can make for ourselves. The strategy worked with my daughter, who sings in the choir, plays trumpet at school and has an unrealized interest in the guitar.

I also coach youth sports, primarily ice hockey, and some baseball. The lessons of working with kids should not be surprising. First, keep it fun. Second, keep it interesting by continuing to teach (that is teach, not preach!) I have seen kids driven out of sports by an overemphasis on structured competition, in which kids are pressured to achieve goals for which they have not been prepared. The result is that they just lose interest. Does the same thing happen in music? Do we unwittingly create barriers to participation or appreciation? I expect that the proliferation of new media, the internet and CD technology, will only continue to make so-called folk music (as well as its musical competitors) all the more accessible. The opportunities to make music fun and interesting should only expand.

The relationship between folk music and popular culture also should not be ignored. Consider the book published by Sing Out Magazine called Rise Up Singing. Look at the number of songs in it that came from popular culture, be it Stephen Foster, Rogers and Hammerstein or the Beatles. Remember that even the most traditional folk songs, such as the Child Ballads, were once the popular culture of their time. Consider the foundation that folk music laid for our own popular culture since the 1950's. English skiffle bands were the earliest model for the Beatles. John Sebastion of the Loving Spoonful has returned to his folk roots with his J Band. Jerry Garcia and the Greatful Dead. The folk tradition is a wide open, never ending process, that people participate in because it's fun and interesting.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: WyoWoman
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 01:01 AM

My experience is that young people, like any other people, respond when someone shares their passion. If you do what you do with integrity and passion, and do it with a welcoming spirit, they'll respond. What makes me saddest is how few opportunities they get even to be exposed to folk, or any other type of music.

(Note: They don't always act as though they're eating out of your hand, especially the jr. high and high school ones. But at least a few of them are "getting it." They're just too cool to let on. and the answer to that, as with all of us, is "given 'em some room to respond however they do, and try not to take anything personally." )

Hey, Joe -- Is "Little Bunny Foo-foo" a folk song?

ww


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Joseph
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 02:37 AM

One of the things that is getting in my own way is very limited availability of sheet music. Or maybe I just aint lookin' right. I been poking around on the WWWeb for about an hour and don't have much to show for it.

10 of my 20 mils.

Joseph

joseph51@access1.net


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Sam Pirt
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 05:12 AM

I think that there are increasing numbers of young people getting involved in both folk music and sing. I think that in a couple of years the scene will overflow with young performers, as it is beginning to in England. I do think it is important to think about these aspects of the music.

Cheers, Sam


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: GeorgeH
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 09:18 AM

Simple answer . . Put Flook! on.

We had them perform on Friday night; about 40% of our audience were kids (a party of 30 from a school about 25 miles away, and probably 50 from the local school who work with us on the events) and they all loved it. Despite our running out of Cola and Chocolate bars in the interval (serious mis-calculation on our part). All the audience survey returns (which included the right proportion of kids to match the audience) rated the performance at 5 out of 5, even though only 70% ticked "Folk/Roots" as a type of event they'd be likely to attend. (We try to market everything as "Music" rather than using the F-word.)

Or, put another way, the problem isn't the music - it's giving people the opportunity to hear it and judge for themselves.

Special note to UK-catters: No doubt you're all aware that as we talk there is a "Public Consultation" on a "Music for Youth" scheme, trying to decide how to spend gbp 30 million on promoting music amongst young people? Consultation closes on 1st Oct. (The consutation document is crap, and the board of trustees is a narrow group of the "great and good" from the world of "Classical" music with a Rock performer and an MOR entertainer thrown in for good measure.)

G.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 10:55 AM

There needs to be a place where people can learn about traditional American folk music. Not warmed over pop music in a folk style. The pop-folk connection has spawned more interest in the pop-folk connection and not in traditional American folk music. In school, I was exposed to this more than young people are today. Nowadays, teachers are telling young students that songs like Donovan's "Yellow is the Color of My True Love's Hair" is a folk song. Misinformation at the speed of light.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Paul G.
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 12:14 PM

Hello All...yep, I'm still around. Been on the road and started work on the new recording...shamelss self promotion coming up in another thread later...In regard to the current...I was invited by a music professor at the University of North Florida to attend her honors class and sing a few tunes in order to expose the students (undergrads) to folk music. They had been studying the social foundation of various music styles. That hour was one of the most involved, consuming, responsive, spell-binding performance opportunities of my life. We talked about the origins of the songs -- some trads and some of my own, about the roots of folk, etc...I stayed 2 hours over time. The next week I received a card from the class, filed with comments like "we never knew that folk music was cool"..."I just bought my first Pete Seeger album"..."when are you coming back?". The issue is exposure and educations. We have to be creative about pushing through the veil of the popular culture. Your local universities are ripe for it. The mass marketers aren't going to infuse mega-money into promoting folk, so we have to pull open our longcoats, expose ourselves and say here it is...


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Paul G.
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 12:14 PM

Hello All...yep, I'm still around. Been on the road and started work on the new recording...shamelss self promotion coming up in another thread later...In regard to the current...I was invited by a music professor at the University of North Florida to attend her honors class and sing a few tunes in order to expose the students (undergrads) to folk music. They had been studying the social foundation of various music styles. That hour was one of the most involved, consuming, responsive, spell-binding performance opportunities of my life. We talked about the origins of the songs -- some trads and some of my own, about the roots of folk, etc...I stayed 2 hours over time. The next week I received a card from the class, filed with comments like "we never knew that folk music was cool"..."I just bought my first Pete Seeger album"..."when are you coming back?". The issue is exposure and educations. We have to be creative about pushing through the veil of the popular culture. Your local universities are ripe for it. The mass marketers aren't going to infuse mega-money into promoting folk, so we have to pull open our longcoats, expose ourselves and say here it is...


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 01:14 PM

Psul G, what were some of the songs you sang in the class? What kind of historical information did you apply to each song? This sounds great!

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Andy
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 03:42 AM

Well there are so many of us at present with this idea - unless we all behave stupidly we are bound to have some success BUT we must remember some things are changing and life is never static.

The die in the bed dedicated folkie is becoming a thing of the past (prabbaly a good thing). Musical tastes appear to be a lot broader and all encompassing. You can hear Hendrix played by 18 year olds at Folk festivals these days ! There again examine the roots of some of his music....

There are actually NVQ courses taking folk music and local history links in to schools now. The UK Gov't has recognised that this aspect is very important all ove the third world and emerging countries there is a strong sense of Tradition and culture we in the 'Civilised West' seem to have lost the plot.

I was raised in the North east of England and brought up with the knowledge, and was proud of, of the traditions and history of the area - The steelworks, cola (Sorry Coal) mines - The passenger railway (Stockton Darlington you know). This all slipped out of education as we became hide bound by qualifications and how to get a job earning mega bucks. Quality of life and rounded education became a thing of the past - it didn't make money and we lost a lot of soul. It is coming back and we must try and help it as best we can. It is not just the folk music that is lost but it is a whole generations cutlure was thrown on the scrap heap of capitalist nonsense - no I am not a communist - far from it but part of the solution is not just get the folk out there - although this has got to be a major part of any recovery - but a change in attitude in the classroom, by parents, along with a higher less 'weave your own babies' image.

I'll be watching this one.

A XX


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 10:02 AM

Frank, when you talk about teaching, what, specifically, do you have in mind? What qualifies as traditional music? Are you concerned about traditional singing and instrumental styles? Do you want to try to re-infuse this into the "mass music market" or is it important to keep things on a local level?

It seems like you have some as yet unrevealed plan--and, what with the Millenium coming, it seems like we could use a plan--


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 11:21 AM

Here's what I see. The UK and Ireland are closer to the roots of their music then we are in the States. Ewan McColl and A.L. Lloyd have apparently had some effect on the UK folk scene. The Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann has had a considerable effect on the Irish scene. As I see it now, the traditional American folk music is being buried by entertainers who don't really know much about it and are calling themselves "folk singers". They are writing in a genre that borrows heavilly from popular music of the sixties and seventies and many of the songs tend (not all) to sound alike.

I envision a place where people can come to study the traditions of American folk music in all of it's diversity. We have to look past Jimi Hendrix and his blues influences by discovering those influences themselves. What this means is that we have to honor the work that our American folklorisits and collectors have done by examining this great body of music and song as they have effectively done in the UK, Ireland and other European countries such as Hungary. Bela Bartok knew what Hungarian folk music sounded like. He spent exhaustive hours annotating traditional Hungarian fiddle tunes and archiving them. Kodaly did similar. John Lomax presented cowboy songs to Harvard's Kittredge when almost nobody was interested in them. Folk music in the States for a long time was considered to be "primitive", and "inferior" to art music and there was an embarrassment about it by many people who came out of the cultures that produced it. This went on for decades. This attitude persists today somewhat. It's time to get past this. Lets look at the raw traditional folk music and see it's value not try to pretty it up for the marketplace or turn it into an image selling kind of thing to increase the amount on a songwriter's royalty statement. We need a place that can help us do this. Originally I thought that this was what the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago could do. Right now, the jury's out in this.

I'm glad that this is taking place in the UK and Ireland. It can be a model for us here in the States.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: GeorgeH
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 12:05 PM

Frank,

Yes, one advantage we do have here is that the term "Folk Singer" has never been widely used to refer to musicians whose music has nothing to do with Traditional music - except when the term is used to describe American performers . . There was a brief flirtation with "Contemporary Folk" as a musical description but fortunately that (like the music it described) went into terminal decline . . .

On the other hand, I think you're ahead of us in systematic recording and archiving of your traditions. And we're way behind the Hungarians in recognising that traditional music is a treasure house which can stand comparison with more "classical" musical forms.

That said, I'd add "more power to your elbow" in your hopes for traditional musics in your home land; I share them here.

G.


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 28 Sep 99 - 01:36 PM

It strikes me that the best thing to do is to create some sort of missionary effort to teach these "folksingers" some "real" folk music and help them to learn how to think and play in tradtional styles--even if it's for only one or two songs--


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Andy
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 08:54 AM

Hmmmm....... Sorry it's a long one ! This discussion begs the question :- What is Folk Music? Think back to the times we all 'hark back to.' When the world was hard, when there was no radio, TV, newspapers were local, when a president was shot it took a week to get around the country ! What was folk music but the popular music of the day. But then we invlove the class distinction theories. The Upper crust Americans in the Deep South did not sing negro spitituals - a form of folk music or was it ethnic roots music of the 'coloured man' - don't wish to be racist or sexist here but speaking in terms of the music genre of the era ! Look a the Stephen C Foster stuff and its impact. Then in UK the miners sung about the tragic disasters the fishermen the same sort of thing.The Upper classes listened to Beethoven, Brahms Bach and the rest. Today the masses live by Popular music, the upper classes sadly are about the only ones who can afford Opera and Ballet regularly. Not predjudiced, I just can't afford 30 quid for a decent seat at the Ballet very often ! Examine your CD Collection. Define Folk music and try to include it in to the modern music genre. Geldorf sang about Africa - Emotional Claptrap in some ways but then so was some of the old 'folk stuff'. It can all make your skin creep. Does the word need to be spread ? Are We (yes I admit it I'm a Folkie !) stuck in a rose tinted time warp. I worked in Opera for a while, look at the Folk roots of Rimsky Korsakov's work to name but one. To become separatist is probably the crime whilst we need the extremists and the experts (Carthy Kirkpartick and others in UK) we need some representation in the popular arena (Lisa Carthy, Rusby and others) which is indeed where what we call 'Folk' began. Tehn look a tthe experimentations with roots sounds Edward II and others. This argument applies right through Playford, Celidh dancing, Flatfooting, Rapper Sword, aven Taiko Drimming must address it otherwise we end up back at my Morris dancing argument 'Pickled in Aspic'

I don't have any answers and I love my rose tinted world and I don't want it to die but hey any other Ideas. A XX


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Subject: RE: How can we make folk music more apealing
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 10:32 AM

Sorry to disagree here but folk music was not necessarilly the popular music of the day at least here in the US. Popular music of the day was defined in the 1800's by such tunes as "After The Ball Is Over" which was a big seller in the sheet music field. I agree that the upper crust were embarrassed by American folk music and fought like hell to keep it from becoming popular. It was regional and reflective of cultural sub-groups who were not plugged into the popular music field. The music was "popular" only to the people in that respective tradition.

Frank Hamilton


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