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The current state of folk music in UK

WalkaboutsVerse 17 Oct 19 - 01:36 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 17 Oct 19 - 12:55 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Oct 19 - 12:46 PM
GUEST 17 Oct 19 - 12:38 PM
Dave the Gnome 17 Oct 19 - 12:07 PM
punkfolkrocker 17 Oct 19 - 11:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 17 Oct 19 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 17 Oct 19 - 10:56 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Oct 19 - 10:53 AM
Jack Campin 17 Oct 19 - 10:51 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Oct 19 - 10:49 AM
Howard Jones 17 Oct 19 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,HiLo 17 Oct 19 - 10:19 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Oct 19 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Starship 17 Oct 19 - 07:57 AM
Iains 17 Oct 19 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,matt milton 17 Oct 19 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,Derrick 17 Oct 19 - 06:55 AM
Iains 17 Oct 19 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,CJ 17 Oct 19 - 06:10 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Oct 19 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,matt milton 17 Oct 19 - 05:26 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Oct 19 - 04:15 AM
Dave the Gnome 17 Oct 19 - 04:02 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Oct 19 - 03:37 AM
GUEST 17 Oct 19 - 03:34 AM
GUEST,Observer 17 Oct 19 - 02:39 AM
GUEST,Starship 16 Oct 19 - 08:56 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Oct 19 - 06:40 PM
Dave the Gnome 16 Oct 19 - 06:33 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 16 Oct 19 - 05:16 PM
The Sandman 16 Oct 19 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,Cj 16 Oct 19 - 04:38 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 16 Oct 19 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,Cj 16 Oct 19 - 04:17 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 16 Oct 19 - 04:07 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 16 Oct 19 - 04:03 PM
punkfolkrocker 16 Oct 19 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Joe G 16 Oct 19 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,Starship 16 Oct 19 - 03:44 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 16 Oct 19 - 03:42 PM
punkfolkrocker 16 Oct 19 - 03:32 PM
Iains 16 Oct 19 - 03:03 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 16 Oct 19 - 02:56 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Oct 19 - 02:51 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 16 Oct 19 - 02:44 PM
punkfolkrocker 16 Oct 19 - 02:40 PM
Stringsinger 16 Oct 19 - 02:06 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Oct 19 - 01:57 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Oct 19 - 01:56 PM
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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 01:36 PM

"there were in the 1960's, there were three folk clubs in each" (Big Al)...and assimilation, rather than internal ethnic diversity, was being promoted by government and media, and the majority of mass economic/CAPITALIST immigration was yet to occur.

My poem, from WalkaboutsVerse, "Remember Them?"


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 12:55 PM

Jim - on your 16 Oct 19 - 06:40 PM you seem to be forgetting the oral tradition of songs being passed on through listening to others.

As I built my repertoire, if the tune was already on Mudcat or elsewhere on the web, I used it (occasionally transposing for my tenor recorder intros) but, if not, I learnt solely from the singing of others (at clubs OR radio, CD, etc.), them mimicked my voice with that recorder or keyboards and wrote it down using a simple ABC notation system - not trusting my memory.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 12:46 PM

I think your testimony about the state of the folkscene PFR seens about the most honest and decent I've read in a long time. I'm sure there are a lot of people in your situation. Players as well as audience of our generation.

Also I want you to know that I find it moving. Moving because in the little towns that I grew up in (Grantham and Exmouth) - there were in the 1960's, there were three folk clubs in each. well attended - and the standard of the floorsingers frightened any dummies like me who weren't really good enough. To be good enough to do a floorspot was my teenage ambition.

Something has been lost, but sadly something much too subtle for the people here to sort out. there was all kinds of music, and all kinds of approaches to folk music, which as i remember were accorded respect.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 12:38 PM

'inbreeding within a limited gene pool'- sounds like the Tory party....


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 12:07 PM

200!


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 11:51 AM

The musics not pure, my mischling blood's not pure.. thank f@@kfor that...

Trying to maintain unhealthy incestuous purity of a lineage didn't do the pharaohs much good...

Nationalists please note - purity might sound ideal in theory,
but not in practice...

You'll have to look for other excuses for continuing to inbreed within a limited gene pool...

musically and literally...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 11:38 AM

Thanks, Jack. Very informative and pretty much what I thought - the English tradition is somewhat a fallacy anyway!

The "we" was just a description of anyone interested. No one specific in mind. The point I was making though was to anyone who thinks there is something pure and special about an English tradition. It is not English! Hence the mention of traditional English fish and chips springing from the Jewish culture as well :-)


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 10:56 AM

HiLo,

It isn't uncommon with some folks to not let the truth get in the way of a good story. Or sometimes their own beliefs.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 10:53 AM

"ordinary towns folk out for free entertainment and booze.."

ok.. I'll be a grammar pedant..

Unfortunately the booze wasn't free.. we can dream though...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 10:51 AM

Should we perform only in our own tradition to preserve it?

Which "we" do you have in mind? There are a lot of different people using it, with their own reasons for folk music to serve many different purposes.


If so, at what point in time to we lay down what the tradition is? Do we perform only English traditions as they were in the 18th and 19th centuries?

That we can be fairly definite about. Both tunes and songs from that period arose in a well-connected international culture. Any time you play a tune with I-IV-V-I chords you're using an Italian idea from the 16th century, and it was obvious by Child's time that most of the best-known ballad stories had cognates across Europe. The material English folkies perform today was never part of a purely English tradition, and you can say something analogous about every other part of the British Isles. Scottish Highland bagpipes were introduced from England in the late 1400s, were always made outside the Highlands using African woods, and for the last 150 years have usually been accompanied by drumming that comes partly from the continental European and Ottoman military traditions and partly from colonial Africa.

The music most people heard most often in the 18th and 19th centuries in the UK was hymns and psalms. Which mostly originated as a collaborative effort by Calvinists from all over Western Europe and never developed any regionalized idioms - the only ones that look that way (like the psalms of the Western Isles) are relics of once-widespread repertoires. The instrumental music that formed the core of most practical music making at the same time was in the army, and you played much the same stuff in the same way in military bands in Peterborough or Petersburg.

Cherry-picking the historical record to create a "national" idiom is inventing a past that never was. It may sell downloads and put bums on seats, though - which gets back to the your first sentence - who is this "we"?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 10:49 AM

For 10 years, the summer highlight for us was the Burnham on Sea Free Folk Fest...
It was a reasonably balanced program of 'Trad folk', 'Contemporary folk',
'World Folk', and 'Are you really sure it's folk ?' acts..

.. and the local Morris dancers...

A small scale unpretentious or snobby weekend festival in the town pubs and park..
Handy because we could stay at a relative's house..

A great under the radar weekend that more cosmopolitan folkies didn't seem to give a toss about,
The audience were mostly ordinary towns folk out for free entertainment and booze..

Sadly RIP due to tory austerity funding cuts, and the organizers getting older and tired...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 10:27 AM

It's all very well saying that clubs should organise workshops, and I don't disagree with the sentiment. However in my experience not many clubs have people with the knowledge and experience to run these, or the time available. Being able to play or sing does not necessarily mean the ability to teach.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 10:19 AM

If I may, I would like to clear up a total fallacy stated above, re Bob Dylan and Theo Bikel...Bob Dylan never refused to go to Mississippi. Theo Bikel never spoke directly to Bob Dylan. Bikel spoke to Dylans manager, Al Grossman who told Bikel that Dylan would probably not be able to afford the trip as he was playing only in small clubs at that time and his album had only just been released..none of his early records sold very well, so he was not rolling in dough. Bikel suggested that he (Bikel) would pay for Dylans ticket to Mississippi.
Bikel gave the ticket money to Grossman who then passed it on to Dylan. Dylan did not know the source of the money and assumed it was from Grossman. They did not go by train, they flew..Bikel sat next to Dylan en route, they chatted and according to Bikel, he seemed to think Dylan was happy to go.
So the story related by Jim is a total misrepresentation of what actually happened and Jim has repeated this fallacy many times.
The truth of this story is confirmed by several interviews with Bikel...interview with both Joan Baez and Albert Grossman.
Another wee correction..Bob Dylan did not steal Scarborough fair from Martin Carthy.
It is time to put these myths to rest.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 08:33 AM

matt milton - enjoy being still youngish and living in a big city as long as you can..

I moved out of London 20 years ago to be closer to my recently widowed mum.
I was also only 40 and fed up being too skint to enjoy much of what appealed to me in the city nightlife...
..and it was getting near impossible to dodge ticket inspectors and railway police
on the tube line from the farest reaches of East London where we could just about afford to live.

I'm now 'retired' to a depressed west country town,
isolated with no easy affordable public transport to the regional cities.
City gigs would realistically need overnight hotel costs.

So the last time we could afford to make the effort was Bellowhead,
and as good as the band were,
the audience were a bunch of loudly over talkative smug middle class dicks
who spoilt the occasion for me.

Our town does have a small cramped poncey trendy student cafe that occasionally books lesser known touring acoustic acts,
who probably need the work and are swallowing their pride to gig in our town.

It's an expensive cliquey place for a miserable aging malcontent like me to enjoy spending an evening.
I suppose it's alright if you like cakes instead of rough cider...???

There used to be a proper good old fashioned pub with folk/blues sessions that went on into late night lock ins,
but it closed years ago.

Buying power of the wife's public sector salary has increasingly shrunk after 10 years of austerity,
while pints of cider have become a rare luxury...

That's when/why I gave up on the cultural desert I'm stuck living in,
and instead enthusiastically took up the worldwide joys of late night internet music
on the comfort of my own sofa..

"The current state of folk music in UK" is only something I'm really aware of to any extent,
by reading mudcat threads...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 07:57 AM

Jim, when you return I shall look forward to it. Many thanks, and have a great trip.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Iains
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 07:24 AM

A couple of events occurring.
http://www.folklondon.co.uk/venues.html

In the beginning

https://www.johnmartyn.info/node/1531


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 07:15 AM

I can't get that exercised over whether there are fewer folk clubs today than 50 years ago when I wasn't alive. There are enough ot them now to occupy my time.

If you don't live near a folk club, you probably don't live too near many live music venues either: I imagine the same could be said for jazz or rock or classical venues, or Korean restaurants. Them's the breaks.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 06:55 AM

The Wiki page has no date that I can see.
A look on this site alone gives a good idea of the number of folk type
clubs available.
What mixture of material you might hear will no doubt vary from club to club as in my experience of 50years it always has.

www.englishfolkinfo.org.uk

See regional resources


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Iains
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 06:36 AM

The number of clubs began to decline in the 1980s
It would be interesting to see the proof of that. Supposedly there were 300 clubs in the sixties.
The 60's were a unique time, the original teens of the late 50's were young adults, tertiary education expanded, disposable income soared. Any number of reasons can be postulated for the attraction of folk in the 60's. Dylan, Baez, The dubliners regularly hit the charts and thus got airtime, aided by the likes of radio luxemburg, Radio caroline etc.
Conscription finished and teens had cash, and could act as individuals as the national service mincing machine could not bust them all to the lowest common denominator. All these factors aided folk music.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_folk_revival

How popular folk is rather comes back to the ongoing debate. How do you define FOLK? Does electrification take the likes of the Strawbs, Run Rig, Fairport etc out of the equation? Is it a celebration of a fossil artform? If not, what are the modern equivalents? and of far more importance where and how do you categorize them?
Did folk actually decline or morph into other genres that fill the same void?
Could" I hate Mondays" be a modern folksong. It ticks many of the boxes!

The description below, if adhered to, defines folk as a fossil art form and takes no heed of modern technology. Either the music is an anachronism or the description.
a song originating among the people of a country or area, passed by oral tradition from one singer or generation to the next, often existing in several versions, and marked generally by simple, modal melody and stanzaic, narrative verse


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 06:10 AM

There's no such thing as a person who cannot sing, unless they have some physical or mental malady that literally presents them from opening their mouths and singing. Sure, we're not all Freddie Mercury, but we all have unique voices that are to be valued. For me, all those X Factor people who warble and vibrato and mid-atlantic meah are awful singers, as they have none of themselves and a whole lot of other people. Give me an untrained voice any day of year.

That said, Ewan M's techniques - as I understand them from Jim's explanations - for teaching people how to physically become a more at ease singer - more comfortable, more themselves - sound ok to me.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 05:38 AM

Fine if you live within reach of the few remaining
This is Wiki's estimate - as rliable as anything Wiki comes up with I suppoose but then again the numbers speak for themselves

The number of clubs began to decline in the 1980s, in the face of changing musical and social trends. But the decline began to stabilize in the mid-1990s with the resurgence of interest in folk music and there are now over 160 folk clubs in the United Kingdom, including many that can trace their origins back to the 1950s.[43]
Complacency is going to do as much further damages as is identity theft
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 05:26 AM

When I look at the websites for the programmes of The Goose is Out, Tooting Folk Club, Islington Folk Club, Musical Traditions, Cellar Upstairs, Croydon Folk Club, Twickenham Cabbage Patch, there's more acts I'd like to see than I have time to attend.

And that's not counting singarouds such as Bermondsey FC, A Roving Folk Club, Sharps, the Harrison and others. And that's not counting gigs at The Green Note or the aforementioned Harrison. And that's not counting sessions.

So where I live there's plenty of folk.

Interesting albums being made up and down the UK by the likes of Nick Hart, Stick in the Wheel, Lankum, Alasdair Roberts, Cath & Phil Tyler, Burd Ellen and probably others I've not heard of; while the elder statespeople such as Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick continue to tour and record.

As spheres of musical activity go, folk's not doing too badly. Were folk to be cuturally 'bigger' in the UK, it would of course be a good thing for its professional exponents, but it wouldn't actually make much difference to my personal existence: I'm already at the limits of the time I have to engage with such content; I don't have the time to go to all the current folk clubs and gigs currently extant.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 04:15 AM

"Of course there are those who do not want to sing."
Of course there are Dave, but it's nice to know it's there if you want to
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 04:02 AM

Of course there are those who do not want to sing. Those who enjoy folk song but just want to be entertained. And do not want to sit through some wannabe Harry Cox or Sam Lerner trying to improve their singing in public.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 03:37 AM

"If that is what he thought then I am sorry but he was wrong. MacColl himself was no great shakes as a singer"
That is a matter of opinion as you say.
Rather than having died with him, or, as with many singers, after having run their course when people became tired of them, MacColl's recorded songs have never been as accessible as they are now, thirty years after his death and are constantly being re-issued in different formats.
The release of a three?four volume set of live recordings is in the pipeline - that sort of thing doesn't happen with "poor singers" (apart from Florence Foster Jenkins maybe!)

I saw MacColl sing whenever I could; even when I had heard all the songs enough to almost be able to sing them myself - each time I came away having enoyed them and often, with a new take on them
That is, for me, the mark of a great singer
Let's face it, in the technical sense, Harry Cox, Sa Larner and even Jeannie Robertson were not 'good singers' in the technical sense, (I heard and read many criticisms of the speed at which Jeannie sang her songs)
Their greatness came from their interpretations of their songs and their abilities to relive them each time.
Sam Larner and Phil Tanner - old men both, still leave me with the impression that they are singing their best songs for the first time
I believe, as MacColl did, that anybody can learn to do that, jus as, with work, they can improve the quality of the voice with work and dedication
Many of us who have spent our lives singing were told by teachers that they would never be able to sing and were sat at the back of the calss while the others got on with it
Shame on you for your elitism

Incidentally - the abysmally poor standards weren't caused by telling people everybody could sing - they were caused by people telling them it wasn't necessary (and even detrimental) to do so - I was accused many times of being "elitist" and "putting people off" by suggest that clubs should set minimum standards of performance on their club nights
I always suggested (and still do) that the best chances of survival folk singing has is for clubs to set up workshops to help the inexperienced
Throwing them to the wolkves by letting them "have a go" is more likely to kill enthusiasm than it is to develop it

Starship
I have had recordings of the workshops where MacColl's ideas on teaching techniques wre developed and used - relaxation, voice and singing excrcises, along with the arguments for the need for each
I have been intending to make a 'user pack' of them for years but ahve never got around ot it, largely because of discussions like these where I have come away feeling "what's the point?"
I started to put the work of the Group up on the last MacColl threads, but never finished it - I mean to this time
Shortly after The Critics Group broke up I gave a talk on its work at a symposium at County Hall to celebrate Ewan's 70th (nobody wanted that particular
poisoned chalice' because of the acrimony)
I'm happy to let anybody have the script of that talk if anybody wants it - an e-mail address will do - it's not too bad a background (or so people said at the time)
Off to Belfast in a few hours so it'll have to wait till next week
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 03:34 AM

So Ewan got it wrong and Bob cant sing
not to mention the abysmal (absolute) standards in UK Clubs
what an insightful contribution, such humble opinion
truly a naturally gifted contributor
Keep coming back


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 02:39 AM

MacColl and others worked on the basis that. unless you had a physical problem, almost everybody could become a singer

If that is what he thought then I am sorry but he was wrong. MacColl himself was no great shakes as a singer, but that is only my opinion, years and years ago, I only ever listened to MacColl sing to pick up the lyrics, there was not one single song he sang that others (e.g. Luke Kelly) didn't perform and sing far, far better (Same goes for Bob Dylan who I have always regarded as a very poor singer)

He qualified it be saying, if you want to be a better singer you have to put in the hours

The first statement makes what he states here ridiculous, you first have to be able to sing before you can become a "better" singer, especially if you sing in public.

The ability to sing is a natural talent, it is a gift that once recognised can then be built on. The "anybody can sing" school must bear the blame for the absolutely abysmally poor standard of performance you come across in UK Folk Clubs - and no, running workshops within clubs is not the answer if you cannot sing, you cannot sing, best not to impose your shortcomings on an unsuspecting public - they don't deserve that degree of disrespect.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 08:56 PM

Mr Carroll, could you explain the technique? I would really like to know. Thank you either way.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 06:40 PM

Teaching by example can only have a very limited effect Dick and it's more likely to produce copyists in my opinion
Booking good guests can have the opposite effect - "I'll never be be able to sing that good so why bother?"
MacColl and others worked on the basis that. unless you had a physical problem, almost everybody could become a singer
He qualified it be saying, if you want to be a better singer you have to put in the hours
He went on to devise a technique whereby an aspiring singer could break down the problems - with help, if possible, but alone if necessary
I saw that work many times - beats the hell out of admiring somebody from afar
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 06:33 PM

I was going to start a new thread on this but realised this topic was inexorably linked.

Should we perform only in our own tradition to preserve it? If so, at what point in time to we lay down what the tradition is? Do we perform only English traditions as they were in the 18th and 19th centuries? Do we go further back and perform Anglo Saxon folk? Or do we come up to date, where other cultures have mingled with the English tradition? Whatever that may be!

In much the same way as the Balti house has taken over from the fish and chip shop (itself stemming from Jewish culture), are American country ballads now more relevant to 'folk' than 18th century broadsides? Is Bhangra the new Morris? Or do we feel, as I do, that they should all play a part in our rich tapestry of culture?

Maybe Jim and the traditionalists (good band name) are seeing the dilution of our own folk songs by newcomers and reading it as a fading of the folk culture they grew up with. I am not postulating that this is the only, or even main, cause of their complaints. But does it have a bearing?

Over to you.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 05:16 PM

CJ - repatriating out of respect for Aboriginal land rights, I see myself as an English repatriate (although, technically a dual national); and, e.g., I came second in the unaccompanied trad song contest at the Alnwick Gathering, a decade or so ago, singing Cob-a-Coaling (not long to go now!) in a Northern accent.

Furthermore, being nearly 4 when my family left, I, of course, learnt to speak with a Northern English accent - maybe with a bit of RP thrown in, because Didsbury was/is quite posh...which was soon knocked out of me on the school playgrounds in Sydney.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 04:47 PM

JimCarroll, i agree that the best clubs are ones with strong residents,
at the same time i have seen floorsingers and residents raise their game, one example i remember was when i booked ewan and peggy, another was when Martin Carthy was booked the singers seemed to make an extra effort, i believe this was because they upped their game in the presence of professional performers


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 04:38 PM

i didn’t say you weren’t a repatriate. I just said that you should sing in your own accent. Stop pretending to be fully formed by England and embrace your Australian heritage. After all, if England’s football team can have numerous heritages in it, and rightly so, I’m sure your accent can.

What English accent do you choose, btw? A sort of BBC thing? An Alf Garnett?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 04:30 PM

"living a lie" (CJ)...but I AM a repatriate - briefly, born in Saint Mary's Hospital, Manchester, the day Alf Ramsey's English team won the FIFA World Cup, I studied "Pre-colonial Aboriginal Society" and "Aborigines and the State," including Land Rights, at uni in Australia, before repatriating in 1997.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 04:17 PM

Surely WAV you and everyone else should sing in your own accent? Embrace being shaped by Australia. Otherwise you’re living a lie and presenting a lie to the audience. Or, acting.

I find the idea of “English” culture hilarious, not too long ago it was area vs area, village Vs village. The Idea of one unifying culture is bunkum. Even the language varies from region to region, let alone the music. How many times has the England / Scotland / Wales borders shifted? Are those areas suddenly Welsh? Or English?

It’s hogwash. Birds don’t care for borders, deer or rabbit either. Why should “culture”?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 04:07 PM

Agree about singing in your own accent, PFR; having just gone over the 50/50 mark in terms of time here/in Australia, I speak with the mixed accent of a repatriate but could have done better, frankly; however, I at least try to sing English songs with an English accent.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 04:03 PM

I genuinely believe the recommendation in the last post, Joe G, would improve the state of folk music here.

And are you sure someone who hates capitalism as much as I do, and loves our world/UN being multicultural as much as I do, is Right wing?

In WalkaboutsVerse
, and by getting into my own good culture upon repatriation from Australia to England, after studying Aboriginal land rights, I have got it right.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 03:58 PM

last quick recollection before I go downstairs for dinner...

.. and this should please UK nationalist muddcatters...

Punk differed from skiffle in that we refrained from singing in American accents...

At that time in the 1970s, us radicalised teenagers were getting sick of USA cultural imperialism in corporate rock music,
and made it a point of principle to sing with our own regional British accents...

.. to a large extent about small scale subject matter that meant something to our local community and mates...

40 years later, I may be generalising, but I do think it was mostly true of grass roots indie punk...

Not so different to folk song...???


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 03:55 PM

WV - please keep your right wing political doctrine out of this thread. I disagree with you completely but I don't want this thread to turn into a political argument

Focus on the music and the venues / media where it is performed / heard / discussed please


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 03:44 PM

"Punk was just as close as Skiffle was to the folk tradition..." That is an interesting comment. It's much like cell theory from a class I failed in high school: all cells come from previously existing cells. It is possible to isolate people from music, but I think even the groups of people who try to do that can't stop the leaks. Music forms will continue to develop and some will be accepted by people and some won't. I doubt anything can or should be done about it.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 03:42 PM

One thing for sure, when it comes to practising and performing the culture of others, modern English ARE among the world's best/worst - depending on your politics.

It really has gone from one extreme to another over the last 100 years or so - lording it over everyone else to letting everyone else lord it over us.

Why not just admit that our past imperialism was wrong and our present mass immigration is wrong, and that 2 wrongs...

Then, the state of folk music here will improve, along with many our culture and society in general.

Or, in WalkaboutsVerse, "Nationalism without Conquest"


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 03:32 PM

I respect all who self identify as 'folkies'..

Though not so much those who consider themselve's superior because of that choice...

Which can be a real problem,
when that self regarding attitude is being passed onto kids
indoctrinated by the worst of the smug elitist acoustic only folkies...

Fortunately there seem to be fewer of them at mudcat than when I first joined 15ish years ago...

Btw.. Punk.. I'll add that at grass roots provincial level,
before the likes of EMI got £££$$$ in their eyes for a new fad bandwagon to leap on..

The average punk song lyrics were very similar thematically to a lot of old folk songs..

Just, the songs were mostly shorter.. [some might thank punk for that...]

Punk was just as close as Skiffle was to the folk tradition...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Iains
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 03:03 PM

Stringsinger I think I can understand what you are saying but I come away with the feeling there is an unstated elitism behind what you are saying. Talking about 'out of tune guitars' and 'suspending judgement for other musical forms as folk stands alone' are statements I would take issue with.
Do you not use the same modes of interpretation and impact on the emotions to gauge the worth of a symphony or a pop song, or dare I say a folksong. It has to be a rare bird approaches folk music in isolation as though it is some mighty scientific work to be understood and interpreted as being a wholly unique construction. Is there not a commonality.The film Blackhawk Down used The minstrel Boy as a background and Apocalypse now used the Ride of the Valkyries. Both pieces were chosen for a reason.
What analytical tools can be applied that are specific to "folk"

Please correct me if I misunderstand what you are saying , but I feel what you say can hardly widen the appeal to attract a casual observer and encourage them to greater involvement and to become "Folkies".
But I can also understand that Folk attracts some that like to collect and research the origins of folk music, some like to 'perform', others are happy to be an audience.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 02:56 PM

Also, Stringsinger (and it would be nice if it was an English cittern, plucked with or without a feather, being sung with) just made sense, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 02:51 PM

In some people' minds maybe
Punk has it's basis in sound - our singing traditions are word based, the words used to communicate information   

What String says about the recognisable sound of fork is spot-on and it can trancsend national and even language barriers
Sean Nós singer was once played a dozen recordings from all over the world, dome folk, some art, some pop
He identified all but one of the folk pieces correctly
That has to mean something
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 02:44 PM

"Re the comments from WAV about Celtic Connections. With the festival you get exactly what is stated on the tin. It does not claim to be a festival only for Scottish or any kind of wider Celtic folk music. Is it just this wee musical part of the world making connections with the rest of the world. It states on its website that the festival is over 300 events across "multiple genres of music" and it lists the type of genres as being Folk, Trad, World, Indie, Americana, Jazz&Soul, Gaelic, Blues, orchestral, rock&pop, fusion - plus various other genres. It does not claim to be narrow in outlook as WAV seemingly woud like it to be." (Allan Conn)...here is Wiki on Celtic music
- a definition that would, indeed, make Celtic Connections seem more like Curious Connections.

And, from here
, "world-music stalls and stages should be places where folkies of different nationality present different unfused music to each other."


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 02:40 PM

..except..

Many of those of us who were teenagers or slightly older in 1976
who were part of the punk scene from the beginning,
remember that punk and folk were very much inter-related in our small provincial towns...

Often the same people, same attitudes, same ideas, same themes of resistence and rebelion,
same musical competency and limitations,
same methods of indie cottage-industy self recorded and released vinyl and tapes..

etc...

Even sometimes sharing the same amps and PAs at our local gigs...

It's not a simplistic notion of punk or folk / punk versus folk...

Music and culture academics may like to pontificate more on my quick recollections..???

And we're now the 60+ years olds who care greatly about both branches from the same music family tree...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 02:06 PM

This is not a legit discussion of semantics. It's a process of identification. What is folk?
It's a kind of music that when you hear it, you know what it is. When you hear a traditional singer who emanates from a specific area and has grown culturally in that area usually taught by parents or community that is generally isolated from other forms of music found on the radio, TV or movies, and is not prized for showmanship or popularity, then it's probably folk music. If you hear these traditional singers regardless of ethnicity, you know it's the real deal.

Punk Rock is a genre borne of a style of music that is part of the overall rock music genre which is a kind of manufactured music for a specific market. Some of it is quite musical, lyrically sophisticated and worthy of a listen. Some of it is pure hokum.

This can be said for some forms of folk music as well. Texts become bowdlerized, obscure requiring footnotes and some singers are better than others, pitch being truer, vocal production fuller, or instrumental players, some great others mediocre. Just because it's folk doesn't make it better but it does make it folk.

The current state of UK folk music has been obscured by the popular entertainment field.
There is no question that folk music has influenced the pop market as it has classical music but it ain't folk. Folk music is an acquired taste. You have to listen with a different set of ears. When you do, it's rewarding and unlike other forms of music.

The tradition of pub singing is viable in my opinion. You hear ballads in them, songs that you wouldn't hear otherwise and if a folk club is this, I think it works. If it's just a warmed over pop music with out of tune electrified guitars and sounds for the purpose of assaulting the listener or hyping them up into a frenetic contemporary "tarentella",
then it becomes boring quickly.

What Jim is advocating as traditional singing or playing is only appreciated upon listening, participating, suspending judgement reserved for evaluating other musical forms, and learning it and about it. It stands alone.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 01:57 PM

I had an uncle, who every time he lit a fag - he'd strike the match and announce, 'See that! Bonfire night in Aberdeen...!'

No, we didn't laugh either....


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 01:56 PM

£How many years is it since Dylan was heckled "Judas"...???"
Dylan had the decency to sing 'Its all over now Baby Blue and announce he was moving on to rock as a career move though many of the Bobby Soxers tend to forget this
I never liked him even though I tried at the urging of my mates,but I found him interesting inasmuch as way back he was actually basing what he did on folk song
I lost much of that when he refused to tack part in the Freedom Rides in the South he had made hi name singing about and had to be embarrassed ito showing his face when actor-folkie publicly Theodore Bikel presented him with his train fair to Mississippi

I'm not against experimentation, far from it (George Butterworth wrote the most EXQUISITE TAKE on a folk ballad I have ever heard - it only becomes a problem when it dominates the scene and gets mistaken for the real thing

Must pack my Knickers - will look in later in the hope that Brexit has bombed
Jim


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