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The current state of folk music in UK

GUEST,Peter 24 Nov 19 - 05:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Nov 19 - 03:43 AM
r.padgett 24 Nov 19 - 03:12 AM
Iains 24 Nov 19 - 03:08 AM
The Sandman 24 Nov 19 - 02:45 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Nov 19 - 09:28 PM
Joe Offer 23 Nov 19 - 08:18 PM
The Sandman 23 Nov 19 - 04:37 PM
The Sandman 23 Nov 19 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Nemisis 23 Nov 19 - 04:24 PM
The Sandman 23 Nov 19 - 04:12 PM
The Sandman 23 Nov 19 - 03:00 PM
Iains 23 Nov 19 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,kenny 23 Nov 19 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 23 Nov 19 - 05:46 AM
Joe G 23 Nov 19 - 05:39 AM
The Sandman 23 Nov 19 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 23 Nov 19 - 03:15 AM
r.padgett 23 Nov 19 - 03:09 AM
Raggytash 22 Nov 19 - 06:30 PM
Steve Shaw 22 Nov 19 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,Kenny 22 Nov 19 - 06:19 PM
Steve Shaw 22 Nov 19 - 06:08 PM
Jack Campin 22 Nov 19 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,Kenny 22 Nov 19 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,kenny 22 Nov 19 - 05:35 PM
Raggytash 22 Nov 19 - 05:21 PM
Steve Shaw 22 Nov 19 - 05:19 PM
GUEST 22 Nov 19 - 05:07 PM
Jack Campin 22 Nov 19 - 04:18 PM
Jack Campin 22 Nov 19 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 22 Nov 19 - 01:19 PM
The Sandman 22 Nov 19 - 01:12 PM
GUEST 22 Nov 19 - 12:43 PM
r.padgett 22 Nov 19 - 12:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Nov 19 - 12:35 PM
Backwoodsman 22 Nov 19 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,jag 22 Nov 19 - 11:30 AM
Iains 22 Nov 19 - 10:56 AM
Jack Campin 22 Nov 19 - 10:54 AM
Howard Jones 22 Nov 19 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Peter 22 Nov 19 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 22 Nov 19 - 10:34 AM
Iains 22 Nov 19 - 10:28 AM
Vic Smith 22 Nov 19 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 22 Nov 19 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 22 Nov 19 - 09:32 AM
Jack Campin 22 Nov 19 - 09:22 AM
Vic Smith 22 Nov 19 - 07:15 AM
Joe G 22 Nov 19 - 07:08 AM
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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 24 Nov 19 - 05:58 AM

As far as I can see no one has said the folk scene is as healthy numbers wise, Dick. We all know that the numbers are nowhere near where they were. But they are nowhere near as dire as some would have us believe.
The trouble is that the only measure that we have is in numbers of events, both formal and informal. In London at least I think that the numbers attending folk gigs are healthy but that is as much due to the two major concert promoters (EFDSS and Graham Smallwood) as to clubs and sessions.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Nov 19 - 03:43 AM

As far as I can see no one has said the folk scene is as healthy numbers wise, Dick. We all know that the numbers are nowhere near where they were. But they are nowhere near as dire as some would have us believe.

Interesting list of names, Ray. I have heard them all do folk songs but dare I say that none of them fit into the definition of folk that we have been told we must apply. Yet they all used to fill folk clubs in the golden age when only folk songs were performed at folk clubs ;-)


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: r.padgett
Date: 24 Nov 19 - 03:12 AM

Yes the characters such as Derek Brimstone, Mike Harding, Jasper Carrot Tony Capstick were able to bring some comedy to folk clubs, but they were entertainers of the music hall era ~ not necessarily a positive type guest at newer "folk" clubs of the more traditional ilk!


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Iains
Date: 24 Nov 19 - 03:08 AM

The relevancy of the Clancy Brothers/ Corries clip is the conversation bring carried out. Try listening to it!


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Nov 19 - 02:45 AM

there is only two of them still alive,as far as i know, anyway that is not the point those folk clubs were filled like that all the time ,i remember i was 15 and going to folk clubs at the time, they were filled by guests of many different types including your mate derek brimstone


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 09:28 PM

I dunno - I bet the Watersons could still fill most folk clubs


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 08:18 PM

Well, I think that it's safe to say that the current heart of folk music, is people who grew up on the Corries and the Clancy Brothers - so it is still relevant to refer to the Corries and Clancys.
Yes, there are a few folk music people in the generations of our children and grandchildren, but their numbers are few.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 04:37 PM

obviously a typo, 1966 not 1866 nemesis do you understand?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 04:27 PM

that film finished off with a MacColl song. a man whose songs are still sung decades later whose contribution to the uk folk revival, will be remembered long after the pooters who have contributed to the mocking of roots tradtional singers on this forum


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Nemisis
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 04:24 PM

"people who maintain that the uk folk revival is as healthy numbers wise in 2019 as it was in 1866 are living in cloud cuckoo land."

No Comment but a big smile


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 04:12 PM

https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-travelling-for-a-living-1966-online
when you pause the film at 40 minutes you will see the watersons singing in a packed folk club, how things have changed those people who maintain that the uk folk revival is as healthy numbers wise in 2019 as it was in 1866 are living in cloud cuckoo land.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 03:00 PM

iains 1985? are we not talking about the uk folk revival in 2019


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Iains
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 09:07 AM

peripheral but interesting.
The Corries talking to the Clancy Brothers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE3d7d_oA5A


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 05:47 AM

"The sweary stuff" was started by Jack Campin, not me, and being goaded, I replied in kind which I should not have done, and for that I humbly apologise. It won't happen again.
Although I have occasionally posted here anonymously by accident, I post here as "kenny/Kenny", which is the name I use on "thesession.org" and "Chiff & Fipple". I am not aware of having been impersonated here, but I suppose it could have happened without me noticing it. If it were to happen, I would certainly have something to say about it.
I will not be posting any more contributions to this particular discussion.
Now perhaps you could all get back to the subject of the thread.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 05:46 AM

re earlier comment-
                      While playing music on the Cape Clear Island quayside, unamplified & for our own pleasure with a couple of others on Cape Clear, we were engaged in conversation by a 'session' pub owner (shanley's) from Clonakilty.
He said
'There are musicians who play traditional music, and there are traditional musicians and you boys are the latter'

We three (one Dubliner, one from Hampshire and me, a Geordie') were very flattered, of xcourse.
Now all three of us had been involved in the music for many years, and none of us would regard ourselves as 'traditional musicians' but I know what he meant, and it's an important distinction.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Joe G
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 05:39 AM

These recent posts have been very interesting and until recently delightfully civil and considered. Do please keep it that way. There is nothing to be gained by swearing and being antagonistic


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 05:37 AM

jack campin . a reasonable book to start with, would be the johnny o leary book , personally i think it preferable to learn by ear but if and when i use books that might be one i would use , there are others, a book by mally.. 100 irish polkas ,
of course i am lucky that i have good players near me such as pat fleming, marie cotter richie tisdall tom sullivan mary tisdall. i also used to live near julia clifford played with her a few times booked her at my folk club etc. your comment about oneills is about 40 years out of date


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 03:15 AM

'Easy, tiger. Are you THE Kenny? The long-time TheSession Kenny? The sweary stuff doesn't make you sound much like him... just asking...not important.'

I don't know Steve. Mudcat has a long history of impersonating users, maliciously or otherwise. So it's worth asking the question when untypical posts appear.

Note the name used is kenny in one and Kenny in the others. Kenny Hadden uses 'kenny' all lower case, as his username on other forums.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: r.padgett
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 03:09 AM

The current state of folk music in UK ~ correct I know nothing about the Irish music scene in Ireland or Scotland or Wales etc

Can we and should we in UK have a much better approach to folk music in UK ~ is the music scene in Ireland perfect ~ I suspect a better approach is possible

Ray


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Raggytash
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 06:30 PM

Gentlemen .............. Joe G asked that we be respectful to each other on this thread.

Could I ask that we adhere to his wishes.

Please.

In my experience in Ireland tunes can tend to be quite localised, handed down within families and a small coterie of friends.

I have heard tunes here, on the West Coast of Galway I have never heard anywhere else.

I suspect,but cannot verify, that this is true of many areas in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 06:24 PM

Easy, tiger. Are you THE Kenny? The long-time TheSession Kenny? The sweary stuff doesn't make you sound much like him... just asking...not important...


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Kenny
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 06:19 PM

"You don't know anything about the Irish music scene in the UK
That's just silly. You can't do any kind of trad without interacting with the Irish scene".
Reply : absolute rubbish

"Ireland doesn't have "music buffs", they have musicians who play traditional music
You were the one who introduced the label.
Yes, the phrases are synonymous".
Reply : Tell me how many Irish traditional musicians you have met who have described themselves as "music buffs".

There have been books of Irish polkas in the past
Please list them [ plural ].
The one I have is the Fiddlecase one (mostly but not exclusively Irish) which supplied all I'd ever need 40 years ago. I have seen others since but wasn't in the market for one. Maybe the Roche collection has some? - I can't find mine right now, if I wanted to look one up on paper I'd use Breathnach's "Ceol Rince na hEireann".
Reply : "mostly but not exclusively Irish", "40 years ago". Irish music has moved on a bit since then.
"Would anybody in an Irish session these days point a newcomer to one as a standard reference?
No. They don't need to.
Which is the point I was making.
Reply : You didn't make a point, you asked a question.
Why be so fucking confrontational about agreeing with me, whoever the fuck you are?
I'm not agreeing with a single thing you say, because you don't know fuck all about Irish traditional music.
My name is Kenny Hadden.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 06:08 PM

Hi, Kenny. Now that I know it's you, no it doesn't matter. Now that I know it's you. All the best.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 05:50 PM

You don't know anything about the Irish music scene in the UK

That's just silly. You can't do any kind of trad without interacting with the Irish scene.

Ireland doesn't have "music buffs", they have musicians who play traditional music
You were the one who introduced the label.


Yes, the phrases are synonymous.

There have been books of Irish polkas in the past
Please list them [ plural ].


The one I have is the Fiddlecase one (mostly but not exclusively Irish) which supplied all I'd ever need 40 years ago. I have seen others since but wasn't in the market for one. Maybe the Roche collection has some? - I can't find mine right now, if I wanted to look one up on paper I'd use Breathnach's "Ceol Rince na hEireann".

Would anybody in an Irish session these days point a newcomer to one as a standard reference?
No. They don't need to.


Which is the point I was making. Why be so fucking confrontational about agreeing with me, whoever the fuck you are?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Kenny
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 05:38 PM

Steve Shaw - does it matter ?
Raggytash - not Jim, wrong on that. Who are you ?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 05:35 PM

Kenny Hadden. Aberdeen.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Raggytash
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 05:21 PM

Hello Jim, I see you are back.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 05:19 PM

And who are you?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 05:07 PM

"In case you hadn't noticed, Irish music is played here too, and my comparison was with the Irish music scene in the UK."
You don't know anything about the Irish music scene in the UK, and certainly not currently in Ireland, so how can you make a comparison ?
"My only experience of the music scene in Ireland was 30 years ago,"
Exactly. See above.
"Ireland doesn't have "music buffs", they have musicians who play traditional music.
You were the one who introduced the label.

"There have been books of Irish polkas in the past"
Please list them [ plural ].
" but who would use them now? Would anybody in an Irish session these days point a newcomer to one as a standard reference?"
No. They don't need to.
The discussion is about "folk music in the UK". Now certainly, politically, a geographic part of Ireland is in the UK, so if you know about the current situation of "the folk scene" there, please feel free to enlighten us. Nobody so far has done in about 1600 posts.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 04:18 PM

the Irish setup where everybody takes O'Neill as the bible and nothing ever gets formally added to it.
Now there speaks someone with no knowledge whatsoever about the current traditional music scene in Ireland.


My only experience of the music scene in Ireland was 30 years ago, which is why I wasn't talking about it.

There are any amount of tune collections in Ireland these days, the difference is that Irish musicians learn the tunes at home, and don't take them to the session.

Or they use YouTube and TheSession. If they're learning at home how could you tell? But the role of those smallish not-trying-to-be-canonical collections is a BIG difference. You can't go to a Scottish tune session with a lot of older players in Edinburgh and NOT know what sources they've got their tunes from. (Younger players are less predictable).

Ireland doesn't have "music buffs", they have musicians who play traditional music

Why would anybody care which label was used?

The OP was asking about the UK.

In case you hadn't noticed, Irish music is played here too, and my comparison was with the Irish music scene in the UK.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 03:30 PM

There have been books of Irish polkas in the past but who would use them now? Would anybody in an Irish session these days point a newcomer to one as a standard reference? Read what I actually wrote.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 01:19 PM

Part of Ireland is in the UK so it isn't really true that the thread has nothing to do with Ireland.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 01:12 PM

ha ha jack campin, so why are there no polkas in o neills, i dont see or hear anyone playing the music of sliabh luchra talking about o neills why? cos theres no feckin polkas and very few slides in the book jack campin presumably lives in cloud cuckoo land, hey jack, there are no highlands either so what do they do in donegal? look for the missing page


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 12:43 PM

"'the Irish setup where everybody takes O'Neill as the bible and nothing ever gets formally added to it. '
Now there speaks someone with no knowledge whatsoever about the current traditional music scene in Ireland.
There are any amount of tune collections in Ireland these days, the difference is that Irish musicians learn the tunes at home, and don't take them to the session.
"For the most part Irish music buffs will say they learned a tune (if it's not in O'Neill) orally ..."   Ireland doesn't have "music buffs", they have musicians who play traditional music, thousands of them. "O'Neills 1001" is actually fairly irrelevant as a reference book these days, the settings within certainly so.
Anyway - the title of this thread is : "The current state of folk music in UK" - nothing whatsoever to do with Ireland. The OP was asking about the UK.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: r.padgett
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 12:36 PM

Yes well folk song participation has to start somewhere and it is true that earlier in life you have exposure to both the more chance of playing and singing later on in life

Not sure if school choirs and listening to folk music there is still done ~or whether opportunities exist at schools or church type events to learn ukulele, whistle or songs collectively anymore but certainly I could be a good idea!!

Ray


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 12:35 PM

I think folkclubs have had the same kind of challenges as football.

In the 60's and 70's - it was a male preserve. men crowded onto the terraces after a couple of celebratory drink, and in the crush pissed up the back ofeach others legs.

A combination of disasters like Ibrox, and Hillsboro - plus perhaps hooliganism not making it safe for a family day out dictated there had to change.

I suppose it would be nice if there were thousands of people devoted to the old songs and unaccompanied singing - but the vast majority of people who went to folk clubs went because it was a good night out. the humour was more adult than Rolf harris and Val Doonican - and there were interesting artistes.

It was very different from the scene we read about in the States - where people went to night clubs like the gate of horn, The Blue Angel and Cafe Wah to hear Josh White, odetta, alongside sophisyicated comedians like Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce.

Maybe we need to learn a little from abroad, look at the way they go on. I think ,aybe the answer to Jim's anguish, is something the Spanish Tableaux - where people do go for the specific reason of encountering etnic music.

How we present what the rest of us think of as folk music needs to be a different kind of venue. Somewhere without the wet lettuce image of family entertainment, but sophisticated enough to offer somthing make peole put down their phones.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 11:44 AM

”the MC handed out song-books to the attendees, and then spent the evening telling them which songs they were going to sing, and leading the community singing."

What's the problem with that if it's what some people want to do? If it's not the way people think 'folk music' should be don't regard it as folk music. Maybe wonder why people were doing that rather that participating in what you think 'folk music' is on that evening.”

Absolutely nothing where the regulars are concerned, I guess. But that kind of rigid organisation isn’t for me - so I exercised my right to choose and never went back. Seems reasonable, n’est-ce pas?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,jag
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 11:30 AM

"the MC handed out song-books to the attendees, and then spent the evening telling them which songs they were going to sing, and leading the community singing." What's the problem with that if it's what some people want to do? If it's not the way people think 'folk music' should be don't regard it as folk music. Maybe wonder why people were doing that rather that participating in what you think 'folk music' is on that evening.

Ditto pub tunes sessions with a limited repertoire. If the landord is happy, the other customers don't mind (or even like it) simply put it outside the scope of your perception of a tunes session. It's quite nice to be able to go out and play tunes with some others in the local community and stand a chance of playing for most of the evening. And to go somewhere else on another evening for something more fluid.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Iains
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 10:56 AM

@Nick Dow. Difficult to answer. I know I will still be male but I cannot answer for the rest of humanity.

But Timothy Leary said over 50 years ago:
"Turn on, tune in, drop out"
and:The Digital Revolution and Adolescent Brain Evolution

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3432415/

......... the main findings to emerge from the research process found that new media technologies within the home are leading to increased social isolation and a privatisation of people’s lives within the household.

https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sites/default/files/assets/document/SiobhanMcGrath.pdf

If social isolation is to become the norm, "the future could be interesting" in the Chinese sense of the phrase
A bit of an extreme view but perhaps this is a moment in time and things will change again, for nothing is static.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 10:54 AM

Irish setup where everybody takes O'Neill as the bible and nothing ever gets formally added to it.
That statement is utterly ridiculous Jack.


Well, what DOES the Irish scene have that's comparable to the mountainous accumulation of small tunebooks I was talking about?

For the most part Irish music buffs will say they learned a tune (if it's not in O'Neill) orally or they got it off the Internet. Where does it work differently?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 10:41 AM

I think it's more that young people now socialise in different ways. My other passion is climbing, and when I was young the best way to meet other climbers was to join a club, and you then benefited from the experience of older members. Now young people avoid clubs, which they perceive as being rule-bound and full of old people, and meet up at climbing walls and on-line. I'm sure it is the same with folk, I see plenty of young people getting involved in sessions, bands and festivals but they don't seem to be interested in my generation's folk clubs, probably because they see them as full of old people who won't like they way they interpret the music.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 10:38 AM

My own opinion is that the weekly Folk Club event will slowly vanish, the Festivals will increase, and there will be more events like the Soundpost Festival (Fay Heald Bryony Griffith) and we will see more informal song/tune sessions in pubs to encourage the beginners.
That is certainly the direction that the folk scene seems to be moving in at the moment. There are a handful of successful high profile clubs that may perpetuate the format but most will either folk or morph into less formal events.

At its height the folk club gave an environment where you could go as a "punter" to be entertained but would still feel connected with the performers in a way that you don't in a formal concert. This brings people on to consider performing, or participating on the organisational side which has been the strength of the movement for the past half century.

The problem with the session / singaround type of event is that it is a place to go once you feel that you can sing or play and can be intimidating to somebody who is still at the stage where they just wants to listen.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 10:34 AM

Thanks Vic some good points, and Iians, don't stop there! What do you believe will be the result of the transitioning?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Iains
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 10:28 AM

There was once a time the local pub was a focal point, initiating such pastimes as morris dancing or, in the case of the cricketers arms, Wisborough Green, the ignoble art of lawnmower racing. On slack days the landlord tolerated folk singers, who were escaping from cold draughty houses to nick some heat off mine host's blazing open fires. Now the price of booze, breathalyzer, closure of pubs, central heated homes etc etc conspire to inhibit the gatherings of the people unless strongly motivated. This obviously had an impact on the club's existence and popularity. Progress probably arrested the folk revival but can you gauge the state of the genre just in terms of club numbers(which in itself is notoriously difficult to determine with any accuracy)
   A Noson Lawen, cèilidh,Troyl all preceded folk clubs and were originally gathering at people's houses and later village halls or their equivalents. The singing had to take its turn among the dancing and storytelling. For a purist these gatherings were the real McCoy and folk clubs a poor plastic impersonation. Now another transition is occurring, but flux is the way of the world, no matter how much Canutes decry it. Far better to accept that it is not dying, merely transitioning.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 10:20 AM

Nick wrote: -
Some of us will have gone to the great sing around in the sky, others will not feel like running weekly or even monthly Folk Clubs.
Well, a lot of us had done our share and we have been saying for a while that we need a lot a new blood on the organisation side but it is not coming through in the numbers that there were 30/40 years ago.
This is not just a folk music phoenomenon, Nick, it is a societal thing. There is an annual event at Lewes Town Hall called the Societies Fair where every local organisation, political, environmental, charitable, musical, artistic, cultural etc. are gathered together for the day. It is really encouraging to see that so many things happen in a small town but a couple of years ago when I was there the local folkie organisers promoting our festival and folk clubs, I took time to go round the stall holders networking with them, I found that nearly all the organisers were in their 60s or 70s and I frequently heard comments like, 'I shouldn't be doing this anymore, but I can't anyone younger to take over'.
It is one of the ways that society and communities have changed. If you try to examine the reasons for this, you will find they are complex. Employment is less secure and more demanding on people's time and energy. Just think how the conduct of General Elections have changed, Local hustings and candidate meetings used to be at the core of them - now it's all advertising, social media, radio and TV debates. This is just skimming the surface of the way we live has evolved.
All we can say it that compared with similar minority musics folk music is not doing so badly. In the 1960s there was probably as much jazz as folk music in pubs in the Lewes/Brighton area. The impression I get today is that there must be ten folk events for every jazz one.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 09:45 AM

I realise no-body has a crystal ball on this thread, but I sometimes wonder where the younger end of the scene will be playing and singing in ten or fifteen years time. Some of us will have gone to the great sing around in the sky, others will not feel like running weekly or even monthly Folk Clubs. My own opinion is that the weekly Folk Club event will slowly vanish, the Festivals will increase, and there will be more events like the Soundpost Festival (Fay Heald Bryony Griffith) and we will see more informal song/tune sessions in pubs to encourage the beginners. Am I correct or overly pessimistic or overly optimistic or just plain wrong?


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 09:32 AM

'the Irish setup where everybody takes O'Neill as the bible and nothing ever gets formally added to it. '

That statement is utterly ridiculous Jack.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 09:22 AM

Some time ago I went to a club in a small town twelve or so miles from my home. I was somewhat perplexed when the MC handed out song-books to the attendees, and then spent the evening telling them which songs they were going to sing, and leading the community singing.

That's the American "Rise Up Singing" model. Somebody here has had a certain amount of input into it...

There is something like it for instrumental tunes in Edinburgh, where an educational organization, and one of its members off his own bat, have been assembling books of accessible tunes for about 30 years. This has had a few unanticipated consequences, mostly negative.

- the repertoire gets standardized and accumulates in bulk over the decades to a point where somebody new to the scene (whether from another place or another generation) will get intimidated out of participating. It makes the scene much more cohort-based than the Irish setup where everybody takes O'Neill as the bible and nothing ever gets formally added to it. What looks like a move to flexibility turns out to create increased rigidity.

- one session has coped by making a selection that they have pretty much memorized, but they are VERY resistant to anyone suggesting they play anything else.

- another session has decided to take the whole lot on, but that means spreading a truckload of paper out on the pub tables before they start and it takes longer for them to find a suggested tune than it does to play it.

- a separate group has made less use of paper and rarely plays from it, but the memorized material is not merely a rigid tune list, each tune is only played in one fixed set. If you have your own idea about what tune might go with another, go try it somewhere else.

Tunebooks have their place, but I wish trad music organizations would produce them on thermal printers so they'd fade to white in six months.


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 07:15 AM

I forgot to mention that there are also three all-day workshops whilst Simon & Hilary are in town:-
SIMON MAYOR MANDOLIN WORKSHOP Saturday 23rd. November 2019 10.45 a.m.- 4.45 p.m. The Elephant & Castle.

HILARY JAMES VOICE WORKSHOP Saturday 23rd. November 2019 10.45 a.m.- 4.45 p.m. The Royal Oak.

SIMON MAYOR FIDDLE WORKSHOP Sunday 24th. November 2019 10.45 a.m.- 4.45 p.m. The Elephant & Castle.


   Joe,I hope that my last two posts are sufficiently back on task for you.
   -Vic Smith-


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Subject: RE: The current state of folk music in UK
From: Joe G
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 07:08 AM

Ah shame you are missing the film Vic - it is wonderful. I gather it is coming out on DVD soon but I'm glad I saw it at the little cinema (with a big sound system!) In Thirsk


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