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The current state of folk music in UK

punkfolkrocker 15 Oct 19 - 01:45 PM
punkfolkrocker 15 Oct 19 - 01:37 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Joe G 15 Oct 19 - 01:20 PM
Backwoodsman 15 Oct 19 - 01:16 PM
Vic Smith 15 Oct 19 - 01:15 PM
punkfolkrocker 15 Oct 19 - 01:07 PM
Dave the Gnome 15 Oct 19 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,HiLo 15 Oct 19 - 01:01 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 12:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 15 Oct 19 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Starship 15 Oct 19 - 11:16 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Oct 19 - 10:49 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 10:17 AM
Vic Smith 15 Oct 19 - 10:10 AM
Jeri 15 Oct 19 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,matt milton 15 Oct 19 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,Starship 15 Oct 19 - 09:17 AM
Jeri 15 Oct 19 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Starship 15 Oct 19 - 08:50 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 08:22 AM
Howard Jones 15 Oct 19 - 08:20 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Oct 19 - 07:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Oct 19 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,matt milton 15 Oct 19 - 07:36 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,matt milton 15 Oct 19 - 07:26 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 07:22 AM
Vic Smith 15 Oct 19 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 15 Oct 19 - 06:46 AM
Vic Smith 15 Oct 19 - 06:34 AM
Vic Smith 15 Oct 19 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,matt milton 15 Oct 19 - 05:58 AM
Jack Campin 15 Oct 19 - 05:27 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 05:26 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 19 - 05:08 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 19 - 04:50 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 04:45 AM
Iains 15 Oct 19 - 04:45 AM
The Sandman 15 Oct 19 - 04:42 AM
Howard Jones 15 Oct 19 - 04:34 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Oct 19 - 03:53 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Oct 19 - 02:31 AM
GUEST 14 Oct 19 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,Sol 14 Oct 19 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,Starship 14 Oct 19 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,Joe G 14 Oct 19 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,Captain Swing 14 Oct 19 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,Joe G 14 Oct 19 - 07:52 PM
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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:45 PM

Jim - Eh ..?? wasn't even thinking about you when I posted that...

Dunno why you took that one a little personally...???

Just take a walk about back up the thread to last night's posts,
and you'll get the idea wot I'm on about...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:37 PM

HiLo - My listening is mostly very late at night after the wife has gone to bed.
So, Youtube is also my main source...
Random links that start with one song, and end up hours later
when I'm tired enough to go to bed.
My youtube history is dauting if I want to find an individual song again...
.. and my memory for names is disorganised and useless..

Some videos are so good, I will immediately google and wiki the artists...

So recent favourites are USA band Kitka

One CD can be heard on Amazon Prime..

and Russians Otava Yo

I've found their tracks on free download somewhere..

Those are two I can remember and find again quite easily...

Btw.. errrm.. thanks to the nether reaches of the internet,
there are barely viewable quality Turkish soft p0rn movies from the 1970s
with very listenable soundtrack music...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:26 PM

Don't know where any of that comes from
I'm certainly not a nationalist
Folk song has been regarded as 'The Voice' or 'The songs of the People since day on
Go look at the title Topic chose for it's mammoth and continuing series
Good or bad doesn't come into the issue - not all folk songs are by any meand "good" just as not all pop songs are bad" - taht's a matter of personal taste
THat the fact that a whole social group of people who have largely been regarded as not being culturally creative have been found to have been creating songs which reflect their lives and aspiration since the time of The Venerable Bede is not 'political' - it is a fact that should be roaed from every rooftop from Lands End to John-'o- Groats as loud as voices can carry it
It is 'political' to attempt to prevent that message from coming across
I got tired of peole telling me that the Traditional Ballads were "too good to have been created by the people", yet we owe their survivel to the lowest social group in |Britain, Tinkers and Travellers
Not neatly enough people know that - as Michael Caine should have said
Dave Biulmer's untouchable collection is a screaming example of what happens when money is allowed to dominate the folk scene
Jim
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:20 PM

DTG asked me earlier 'From the responses so far then, what would you say the state of folk music in the UK currently is? ...... Folk music may have evolved a little since 1954 but I think that in the main we have nothing to worry about.'

My own impression is that folk music in the UK (as I described the genre in my opening comment and is broadly accepted by many people here I think) is generally in good health.

I am at the moment listening to Jim Moray's latest release which is, I think, exclusively made up of traditional songs and I'm looking forward very much to Jon Boden's new CD which also will include much traditional material alongside some of his own superb songwriting. Jon's Folk Song A Day project has also been a great resource of traditional material.

There are many young artists making superb music that I would categorise as folk and, certainly in York and around there is plenty of opportunity to participate in music sessions, though singarounds are thinner on the ground - though as I do not usually attend these I may be out of the loop. Having said that the Black Swan Folk Club does have a Singers and Musicians night once a month.

Festivals are thriving (I am off to Musicport this weekend which features folk music from across the world - though perhaps not in the form that some here would appreciate) and, along with most festivals I am aware of, offers workshops and other participatory activities

As had been mentioned by others I think the main challenge is the availability of venues and this I think has been more of an issue than people not exclusively performing/ sharing a more tightly defined class of folk songs. Of course other issues eg easier access to music via the internet, cost of going out for a night, austerity, a far greater range of live music options will have also had an impact on clubs and again I consider these even individually, let alone collectively, will have had more of an impact on attendances than what types of songs are sung. The Black Swan Folk Club in York is sold out or close to sold out when I attend and so they must be doing something right!

So generally I would say the folk scene is in good health (but does need to be nurtured and supported) and I am enjoying the fact that I can discover new music easily as well as still hearing those artists I grew up on Jez Lowe, Wilson Family, Bob Fox, Runrig, Steeleye Span etc.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:16 PM

100


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:15 PM

Hi-Lo wrote:-
I know it is not about UK folk, but I found what PFR had to say about folk from other places. He mentioned Eastern Europe and Arabic Music..I too listen to a lot of music from those parts of the world.
I wonder if he would care to share some of his favourite sites, musician info ?


I also listen to a lot of foreign folk music and would join in discussions of it, but I think you would need to start a new thread with a suitable title to attract those who are interested.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:07 PM

I've been some sort of folkie for over half a century...
So by now I've got a fairly educated ear for 'good' music...

So, when I suggest too much of our indigenous British folk music
is just plain dull and dreary compared to foreign folk music,
then I'm making a serious point.
Not just being contrary and provocative for the sake of trolling...

Nationalists who exploit our trad folk culture for political motives,
who put ideology before quality of music,
are not real music fans...

so there...!!!

Call me a traitor if you like...

Though I really do want to hear British folk music that engages and inspires me
as much as Eastern European music does..

Obviously, I can't make a full and intelligent judgement, or dismiss so much of my own national culture
whilst I am still deprived of hearing most of the fabled lost Bulmer hoard...
That is a void in our heritage that is inexcusable.
It's frustrating not/never knowing what treasures may be rotting away amongst it all...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:07 PM

You are not making sense, Jim. I suggest you re-read what I just said. It makes perfect sense to expect folk songs at folk clubs. And that is what I get.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 01:01 PM

I know it is not about UK folk, but I found what PFR had to say about folk from other places. He mentioned Eastern Europe and Arabic Music..I too listen to a lot of music from those parts of the world.
I wonder if he would care to share some of his favourite sites, musician info ?
   Now for a brief analogy. It has been suggested here that the lack of clubs is an indication of the decline in folk music..People say that the closing of book shops is an indication that people read less..not so. Along with PFR I think people are simply accessing books. music and culture in general, in different ways.
   I listen to a lot of music on YouTube and am hearing styles, genres and artists that could I not have heard a few short years ago.
    The other great thing is that we no longer have to restrict our playing or listening to local or national traditions..the world is there for us and music is one of the great joys..no need to define it..just enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 12:54 PM

"Of course it isn't. Dave - don't be silly
Would you describe going into as greengrocers shop and expecting to find potatoes and peas "rules"
Why the hell should you not apply the same common sense to expecting to hear folk songs in folk song clubs
Your definition needs relate to what you call your songs and you need to describe it if you want to draw in the punters
I'm surprised you haven't responded to my point about the damage this silliness is doing to 'Songs of the People - or maybe not
This deliberate confusion which has been created by what we have always known as folk song is killing it off - or at lrast, driving it into archives
That saddens me - I thought iwt ould have dsaddened everybody who cared
Sorry about that
You are still the most persistent opponent of what I argue but you insist you agree with my description of folk song
Can't for the life of me understand that one
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 11:44 AM

Asking to hear folk songs at folk clubs isn't making rules - it's simple common sense

Of course it is. Which is why at every single club I have been to has had folk songs performed at them. They may not be folk songs by your "loose definition" but they are by mine and they are by Raggy's. As I said before, "We all have our own "loose definition". Who judges which one is right?" Remember your own words too "I have always said that, as listener or a singer, I don't need a 'definition" .


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 11:16 AM

Here's a link to Jim's last post. It's a hoot.

https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-50041509


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 10:59 AM

Sotty - way off topic but anybody in need of cheering up should look up the funeral of Shane Bradley on line
Made my year
JIm


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 10:49 AM

revival of newly made songs.....????


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 10:17 AM

""hey, let's make some rules about folk music "
Nobody ever has (here" Jeri - have you ?
Asking to hear folk songs at folk clubs isn't making rules - it's simple common sense
It doesn't take a 'committee to show the result of that not happening - thousands of enthusiasts walking away, the disappearance of shops, labels, magazines clubs... should have been adequate warning at what happens if your tin didn't contain what the label said it did
The revival that disappeared was a vibrant mix of traditional and newly made songs, accompanied and unaccompanied, sung to a passable standard - when they went, so did the clubs
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 10:10 AM

Matt wrote:-
I could name hundreds of popular english traditional singers all plying their trade (Eliza Carthy, Jon Boden etc) whereas it's a lot harder for me to think of many Irish counterparts.

Well, Matt, in terms of 'plying their trade' maybe dozens but not hundreds.
In terms of current singers - from amateurs to full-time professionals - that personally I find exciting and worthwhile in the way that they deliver traditional songs and ballads, I think that I could probably name as many Irish as English singers and that from a much smaller population.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 09:56 AM

Starhip: "Written and performed by Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq."

Joe, way-back-when, said the subject had run its course. First time I got on the internet, around 1995, people (UK and US) were opining about who should sing what, when and where. The subject will continue as long as some folks have opinions.

And for the record, "cultural appropriation" is pretty much what folk music is for almost all of us. It's just good to be nice about it.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 09:42 AM

"The singing scene never hit bottom as the British one did, but maintained a steady level"

Ah well this is it you see; I don't know what 'rock bottom' means in this context. Maybe at some point in the past, but I certainly don't recognise that as a description of what I encounter when I go to folk clubs (in England). I hear a healthy amount of singers old and some young singing unaccompanied traditional English (and Irish and Scottish) songs. Yes, young people are the minority, but there are still young people there. I would be suprised if on the whole Ireland was radically different in that respect.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 09:17 AM

I don't know if it's appropriate in this thread, but the song lyrics for Jeri's post are at

https://prridot.tumblr.com/post/182727304575/cold-and-analytical-thelogicalloganipus

I'll look later for the author unless someone else finds that info in the interim. Feel free to delete or transfer this post to somewhere else.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 08:55 AM

Every time the organizational committee of whatever starts one of these "hey, let's make some rules about folk music that nobody will have to follow, but will piss some people off", I think sure, fine, whatever. (NSFW)


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 08:50 AM

"Unless the folkies get their act together, any interest the media might have will quickly dissapate" Truer words . . .


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 08:22 AM

"All I meant was that, as far as I'm aware, the situation in Ireland when it comes to traditional song seems to be much the same as it is in England."
Nor really Matt
There is solid backing for Irish language singing which is undergoing a huge revival in its own right
The singing scene never hit bottom as the British one did, but maintained a steady level
New venues like "Larry" have breathed life into it and things are now on the up again
The problem of judging what is happening is that Ireland never really has had a big 'club' scene - a few, but not as many as the UK
I am contantly being knocked sideways at singing sessions (not necessarily traditionally based, but well represented) when a younstar gets up and says "I learned this from the Clare Library website" - the long dead singers we recoded in the seventies and eighties are being given a young voice
I think the situation here was summed up best for me at the Willie Clancy School last year at a singing workshop I was involved in
You expect the people attending to be well versed in the music at teh Willie Week we weer all knocked out when a young woman nobody knew stood up and sang beautifully - I was almost tearful at her singing (a sign of old-age, I'm sure)
I aked where she'd learned to sing and she said she had become interested through watching one of the now many programmes on television and had scrabbled around to find songs, but, because of where she lived, had nowhere to sing them
It seems to me that the singing scene has yet to catch up with the steadily rising interest
If they don't snap them up, teh 'get known quick' media output will
Unless the folkies get their act together, any interest the media might have will quickly dissapate
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 08:20 AM

My comment about unresolvable "What is folk?" discussions on Mudcat was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 07:47 AM

..."playing not-very-good bodhran."

What other kind of bodhran is there, Vic? ;-)


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 07:39 AM

"I know a folk song when I hear one" - hopelessly inaccurate for research, but perfect for allowing you to choose what you listen to

I am sure that is the case. I will stick to choosing what I listen to and leave research to the academics thank you.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 07:36 AM

All I meant was that, as far as I'm aware, the situation in Ireland when it comes to traditional song seems to be much the same as it is in England. Nowhere near as popular as Irish fiddle or dance.

Or am I wrong? Are the folk clubs in Ireland jam packed with teenagers singing ballads?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 07:31 AM

"However, I'm not sure that extends to song in quite the same way"
It has to Matt
Eliza is a successful" performer people go to listen to
In order for folk song to succeed it has to return to its grass roots where everybody stands a chance of taking a dip without having to be "successful"
This doesn't mean they can't be good at it, of course
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 07:26 AM

Irish insturmental music is obviously huge in a way that English isn't, and it has been institutionlised via things like Comhaltas. It would be nice if English music had anything like that profile.

However, I'm not sure that extends to song in quite the same way. I could name hundreds of popular english traditional singers all plying their trade (Eliza Carthy, Jon Boden etc) whereas it's a lot harder for me to think of many Irish counterparts.

That might be cos I simply don't get to hear of them over here (in England) but it doesn't strike me that Irish folk song is significantly healthier than English in terms of numbers or profile of practitioners. I could be wrong...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 07:22 AM

" as the home of traditional Irish music, hence attracting tourism"
Nothing whatever to do with tourism, on the contary
Tourists with death-watch beetle obsession with bodhrans can be a bit of a pain in the arse if not watched
There has been a genuine renaissance of a culture that was believed to be on its last legs - pretty much as the British revival revitalised a music that had been rescued from extinction by the previous revival and found to be acceptable to those tired of the pap being pumped out by the machine
That is a lesson to be learned from what has happened over here
There are other lessond of course
The history of song-making here has provided vital evidence for our "who made our folk songs" discussion
Irish song's link with it's social and political history is now well beyond the suggestion that most of its songs were made for commercial reasons

Deliberate attempts to use a music they didn't understand failed dismally in the tourist industry
Now we have people coming over just to hear the music - and to learn to sing and play it

Whatever the successes of some folk clubs in no longer catering for those who like folk music - unless you either change your identifying logo or live up to it, it can only possibly be short-term, especially if you have a gathering of folk clubs that cant agree on what the term means
As far as I am concerned, 'Identity theft' is the name of the game nowadays - if it says, 'folk' it should be folk
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 07:01 AM

Pseudonymous -
The key may be in the idea that particular areas of Ireland have come to be seen (for whatever reason) as the home of traditional Irish music, hence attracting tourism, from, presumably those wanting to feel they are engaging with traditional Irish culture (albeit it in English, not Irish).

Not always having a good effect, either. I have a very sad memory from decades ago of Miko Russell playing in the whistle in the company of a contemporary of his on fiddle in Gus O'Connor's pub in Doolin, Co. Clare to a barrage of young Germans playing not-very-good bodhran. Not a very eddifying sight or sound.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 06:46 AM

Comparisons have been made between the state of folk music in Ireland and in the UK/England. Given the topic of this thread, and on the basis that the comparisons were intended to be relevant, these were presumably made to cast light on the state of folk music in the UK. It seems to me that the situations are different. The key may be in the idea that particular areas of Ireland have come to be seen (for whatever reason) as the home of traditional Irish music, hence attracting tourism, from, presumably those wanting to feel they are engaging with traditional Irish culture (albeit it in English, not Irish). I know English people, some of home have Irish origins, who head for pub sessions when in Ireland. I don't think you will get the same thing in England; tourism here takes a different form.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 06:34 AM

WHOOPS CONTINUING FROM ABOVE....
At the same time many artists moved to producing their own albums that were intended for sale of gigs. The collapse of shops that sold albums - both specialist and mainstream made self- production both necessary and financially productive.
The efforts of the folk scene to see the magazine continue were very heart-warming. Donations came from and benefit concerts were organised throughout the land. The Copper Family arranged one with Shirley Collins as guest and it was hugely successful, but the fact remained that the single-owner specialist folk/world paper magazine is no longer viable in a rapidly changing society. Costs were rising, income was declining, distribution through retail networks was becoming virtually impossible and the demise was inevitable in spite of the fact that fRoots was streets ahead of comparable publications in design, quality of writing, photographs, in fact in every department, yet the single editor/owner has been left with huge debts.

Ascribing single cause explanations such as I have quoted to complex issues is both deceptive and unhelpful.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 06:16 AM

I'd have thought the disappearance of FRoots enough to suggest all is not well?

The very sad demise of fRoots is much more complicated than an expression of the current state of folk music in UK. In fact, the state of the their subscription list was very healthy, but the majority of income of any national magazine derives from advertising. The virtual collapse of the sales of CDs meant that the folk & world music record companies that produced them cut back on everything except that was a sure fire success and they cut their advertising budget to reflect their smaller number of releases. At the same time M


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 05:58 AM

@Peter C: Bermondsey Folk Club has found a new home at the Partizan Brewery, which I think is an independant brewery in a railway arch. Have a look on Facebook and it shouldn't be difficult to find the event.

Actually quite a suitable example for this thread: showing the sort of ingenuity folk club organisers have to resort to venue-wise to keep a club going!

Just to pick up on the traditional material/singer-songwriter material thread in some of the posts above: I have no problem with clubs where singers sing a mix of trad songs, trad-influenced singer-songwriter stuff (eg Dylan/Jansch/Baez/Gillian Welch) and their own songs. It's when the balance shifts so that the trad stuff is almost not there that it becomes a problem. A good club organiser/host can find ways of 'keeping it trad'.

I've been seriously into traditional music for about 15 years now (before that it was something I listened to, but not obsessively) and it doesn't seem to me as if there's been a downward spiral in that time. The folk clubs in London seem to be more or less as I first found them. If anything there appear to be a few more clubs with younger audiences, so they tend to come and go a bit.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 05:27 AM

Cultural intermingling in a non-musical context: my wife's younger son has a portrait that has come down in the family from around 1800 of a priggish wealthy Scottish gent (usually referred to as "The Ancestor"): it's probably by Sir Henry Raeburn. It usually has a glass of single malt whisky standing in front of it.

The idea came from our friend Lisa (who killed herself at the weekend, largely as a result of Brexit destroying her whole future). She was born in England of Chinese parents and while she was socially like any bright and dynamic young Englishwoman, she was also a serious Taoist. So her take on The Ancestor was that he deserved appropriate offerings, which meant Lagavulin.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 05:26 AM

"I believe that folk music should be an alternative to the mass produced them and us consumerist driven popmusic."
A thousand amens to that one Dick
That's why the revival started in teh first place
It is extremely significant that, when the Pop Industry took folk music under its wing, many who had come to it earlier danced to their tune, watered the songs down and often dressed in funny outfits to perform them
When the maxchine found an anternative music to prey on, the 'Glochamorach' crowd (Tim Lyons's wonderful description) were left in the lurch and the true devotees were left to pick up the pieces
Pop styles come with a sell-by date, our folk song proper has proven to be as timeless as Homer and Shakespeare
On satirday I'm playing a cante-fable form ballad that has it's roots in Ancient Egypt and is still sung as 'Get Up and Bar the Door'
I worth that's worth keeping that in mind
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 05:08 AM

I believe that folk music should be an alternative to the mass produced them and us consumerist driven popmusic.
In my opinion anyone who tries to be create and practise songs and music for the purpose of doin something with skill should be encouraged.therfore i support the uk and irish folk revivals [warts and all]
CCE have been criticised on this forum, however they have played a part in increasing the amount of people playing irish traditional and irish music, some people [myself included] do not like their attempts to make the music competitive or to alter style, and like many organisations they may be becoming over bureaucratic,and perhaps their role will soon be diminishing, but there are many more young people playing trad istrumental music than there is in england or wales


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 04:50 AM

The idea that folk culture or music does not have outside influences from other cultures is flawed.
for example some of the reels in Irish music, were originally scottish, and one or two were strathspeys or other tempos, the polkas that occur in irish music in 2/4 and england in 4/4 were originally mid european.an example is the jenny lind polka a tune written to celebrate the famous singer, turns up later in ireland as a slide


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 04:45 AM

"Continual and fruitless attempts on Mudcat to answer the unresolvable question "What is folk?""
If it's unresolveable Howard why is it necessary to use continue to us a term that doesn't mean anything anymore ?
We - you, I and those here may bot be able to agree on what it means, but it's too well defined, and has been for a long time, tpoo claim that nobody knows what it is
It is an essential part of what we do
I'm more than a litle disappointed that those who, more often than not, stand up for the rights of the less well off shoud remain silent (or even join in) when one of the most important creations of working people stands to be driven back into obscurity by an alternative largely inspired by the product of a predatory, all consuming Music Industry   
Beyond my comprehension, I'm afraid
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Iains
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 04:45 AM

"Folk" is fairly specific in terms for creative culture
The number of clubs, Festivals and other platforms for our communicating with one another that are steadily disappearing ought to be indication enough that all isn't too well - no matter


How on earth can you say folk is fairly specific in terms for creative culture. You can give the tune a scientific analysis, some would argue you could dothe same for the lyrics, but I would question that. The classification within any particular genre is entirely subjective so trying to define an objective scientifically defined box to classify it within is a non starter. The box is an entirely fuzzy construction with tenuous walls with differing views as to where they should lie.
To me this means the actual definition of folk is inevitably hazy. Everyone agrees with the core idea but places the boundary in different places. It is not worth arguing over because it is an argument with no resolution. Just accept the boundaries are subjective and cannot have precise definition.
Traditional venues are closing. That is as true in Ireland as in the UK,you cannot argue with statistics. That is a function of the changed mores of society. If the decline of folk is part of the collateral damage so be it. However as society changes so do avenues for entertainment.
A person can go to a folk club and sit is a degree of discomfort to hear a performance of variable quality, or get a supermarket sixpack and listen to a perfect rendition on youtube. You equate loss of venue with loss of "audience" That is an assumption with nothing to determine whether the basic premise is true or false. I would argue it is difficult to determine the present state of folk in the UK because you conflate venue with audience.If a passive listener the material is available electronically 24/7 and no one has the first idea as to how big that audience may be.Is the club the be all and end all. For performers is the session not of far more interest?
There would seem to be a lot of assertions and very little in the way of supporting facts. The world of the sixties was a very different beast to the world of today. Has the enthusiasm for folk diminished, or simply changed? The tools used to gauge the health of the genre in the sixties need to be traded in for those of the new millenium,
The word communication needs clarification. In a session it is two way, for a club audience it is essentially one way, apart from polite applause. The communication is in the listening. If you do not like something you cease to listen, unless a masochist.
The eight track, cassette player, Cds and walkman opened up a whole new world beyond vinyl, mainly portability and music on demand . You do not have to be a performer to be an aficionado, you do not have to be in a club to enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 04:42 AM

I would be prepared to go to a gig on jims recommendation
"We need to convince English that appreciating, practising and performing their own good culture is a right and proper thing to do"
I have no problem with this as long as other folk cultures are not deliberately ignored


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 04:34 AM

The positives:

A far broader range of opportunities to hear live folk music, from festivals big and small, traditional folk clubs, house concerts, sessions, singarounds, etc. As well as the traditional pub, which may have excluded some, folk can now be found in a wider range of premises, from theatres to private homes.

The internet makes it much easier to listen to recordings of both contemporary and source singers - VoTP is on Spotify. For example, I recently decided to re-learn "Our Captain Cries All Hands" and I was quickly able to find several sets of lyrics and listen to versions as varied as those by the Oysterband and Pop Maynard - all immediately available on line.

It also makes it much easier to learn about folk music and folk performers, and discover where to find it. The demise of magazines such as fRoots is sad but is a reflection that much of what it provided can now be found online.

Greater availability of good quality instruments and more importantly much better access to tuition, from workshops to one-to-one sessions. Thanks to Skype you don't need to find a local teacher, they don't even have to be on the same continent.

As a consequence, the standard of performance by those who make the effort to learn and improve is on the whole far higher than it used to be. The technical ability and musicianship of many young musicians amazes me. They have also got away from the reverse snobbery that saw musical knowledge and training as a barrier to being an authentic folk singer, many have had a good musical education and are all the better for it.

Negatives:

An overall reduction in the number of venues, especially the traditional club model with regular guest performers supported by floor singers. This reduces the choices available and perhaps leads to the situations Jim has found himself in where his choice of material is not acceptable to a particular audience, and their preferred material is not acceptable to him. Once this wouldn't have mattered, you'd simply find a different club more aligned to your preferences, but now this might not be possible in your locality.

Despite the higher standards at the top end of the scale, there is also a tolerance of low standards of performance which once would not have been acceptable outside events intended specifically for novices.

Taken together, this makes it less likely that on a random visit to a new folk club you will find the sort of folk music you like performed to a reasonable standard. This now takes more searching out and perhaps a willingness to travel further.

Continual and fruitless attempts on Mudcat to answer the unresolvable question "What is folk?"


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 03:53 AM

"We all have our own "loose definition"
I have always said that, as listener or a singer, I don't need a 'definition' Dave, it is only when I write or talk about folk song that I need to be more precise
The Revival I was part of was based on had the most reliable and accessible 'definition' possible "I know a folk song when I hear one" - hopelessly inaccurate for research, but perfect for allowing you to choose what you listen to
The fact that this was generally agreed meant that you didn't have to send scouting parties out before you were guaranteed to hear the songs you thought you were going to hear
It was never a 'rule', it was more a general guide based on a definite type of song rather than on adhering strictly to it
An agreement on what that sound is no longer exists and, as for the present scene being based on anything - if it is it seems to be based on long rejected pop songs, from some arguments put up here
Our choice of what we wish to listen to was the first victim of the sea change that has taken place - it has been taken from us
I was told that if I wanted to hear the songs I know to be folk, I would have to go to places that didn't necessarily cater for them - how ridiculous is that?
Once that happens, the scene loses any direction and cohesion, and interest falls off - that would be the case with anything

There can be no argument that the clubs have declined dangerously - your own figures presented as a rise in fortune show that
There may be more professional musicians on the scene today - but that is a sign of personal success, not that the music is in a good state
At the time of the 'Crap Begets Crap' argument in Folk Review, one of the loudest howls was on the deterioration of singing standards - if nothing was done about that then the standards could only have got worse
I have been involved on this forum a number of times where suggestions of requiting a basic standard or expecting people to have learned the songs they sing has been howled down as "elitism" and expecting to hear songs resembling what I know to be folk" at folk clubs as "folk policing" or even "folk fascism"
That level of hostility got the last thread closed so our freedom to discuss our music openly of also being taken away

I make a point of listening to links put up during these discussions - I just have
I invariably find myself clicking out after a few bars, not because I don't like it but because it is irrelevant to what is being discussed - it ain't 'folk' or even 'folksy' in any way shape or form
New songs need to be made if a folk movement is going to have a purpose, but if you call your clubs or festivals or songs after a specific type of of creation, it needs to relate to the name you choose for it
"Folk" is fairly specific in terms for creative culture
The number of clubs, Festivals and other platforms for our communicating with one another that are steadily disappearing ought to be indication enough that all isn't too well - no matter how good your own personal pool may be, if the general indication are of an impending drought, something needs to be done
I'd have thought the disappearance of FRoots enough to suggest all is not well?

Every time someone posts how well their club is doing I think of the story of the feller falling down the side of the the Empire state building saying, "So far, so good"
Jim


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 02:31 AM

Thanks, Joe G. From the responses so far then, what would you say the state of folk music in the UK currently is? I, like you, am in Yorkshire and in my particular area (Airedale) I have no complaints at all. Until about 10 years ago I did travel quite a lot and, wherever I went, I could usually find a folk club. Folk music may have evolved a little since 1954 but I think that in the main we have nothing to worry about.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 10:02 PM

appreciate other cultures as well as your own, but only practise and perform your own culture
Somebody has acquired the new woke orthodoxy over "cultural appropriation".


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 08:26 PM

Fwiw, songs written today will be labelled 'traditional' at some point in the future.

I prefer house sessions myself. You are with folk you respect and choose to be with. The one bad thing is this, it can become very insular. New blood is essential to all genres of music otherwise familiarity will deliver a lethal contempt.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 08:05 PM

GUEST,Captain Swing, are you familiar with Jean Carignan?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 08:03 PM

Sorry forget to do the clicky link thing in my post above
Hall Brothers 'How Deep is this Valley'


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 07:56 PM

"appreciate other cultures as well as your own, but only practise and perform your own culture"

Sorry WV, I just can't go with that. I play the fiddle. If I were to restrict myself to English tunes I would miss out on learning a wealth of different skills and techniques and a whole lot of fun! I would also miss out on the opportunity to play with musicians of other cultures. Remember that most of these cultures: Irish, Scottish, Old time, Bluegrass, French, French-Canadian, Cajun, Zydeco etc are the result of cultural mixing but are now discreet cultures of their own.

From a personal perspective, I would find English tunes a very bland and dull diet without, at the very least, some Irish and Scottish let alone a smattering of any of the above. (And yes, I have seen John Kirkpatrick - many times!)


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 07:52 PM

WV - I think you need to listen to this song

https://thehallbrothers.bandcamp.com/track/how-deep-is-this-valley


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