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Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...

InOBU 19 Feb 02 - 08:08 AM
M.Ted 19 Feb 02 - 10:06 AM
InOBU 19 Feb 02 - 10:46 AM
M.Ted 19 Feb 02 - 01:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Feb 02 - 02:16 PM
M.Ted 19 Feb 02 - 02:32 PM
Ron Olesko 19 Feb 02 - 03:19 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 19 Feb 02 - 03:29 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 02 - 03:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Feb 02 - 04:31 PM
Ron Olesko 19 Feb 02 - 05:41 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 02 - 06:08 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 19 Feb 02 - 06:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Feb 02 - 08:38 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 19 Feb 02 - 09:01 PM
Rick Fielding 19 Feb 02 - 09:36 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 19 Feb 02 - 10:25 PM
InOBU 20 Feb 02 - 04:47 AM
Ron Olesko 20 Feb 02 - 11:26 AM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 12:06 PM
Suffet 20 Feb 02 - 12:58 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 01:02 PM
Ron Olesko 20 Feb 02 - 01:03 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 01:13 PM
InOBU 20 Feb 02 - 01:54 PM
InOBU 20 Feb 02 - 01:57 PM
M.Ted 20 Feb 02 - 03:19 PM
InOBU 20 Feb 02 - 03:25 PM
Erica Smith 20 Feb 02 - 03:40 PM
Ron Olesko 20 Feb 02 - 03:52 PM
M.Ted 20 Feb 02 - 04:47 PM
InOBU 20 Feb 02 - 04:48 PM
Erica Smith 20 Feb 02 - 05:13 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 05:19 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 05:33 PM
Ron Olesko 20 Feb 02 - 05:41 PM
Erica Smith 20 Feb 02 - 05:48 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 05:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Feb 02 - 05:57 PM
Suffet 20 Feb 02 - 06:10 PM
artbrooks 20 Feb 02 - 06:34 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 06:43 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Feb 02 - 06:45 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 06:50 PM
Janice in NJ 20 Feb 02 - 06:58 PM
artbrooks 20 Feb 02 - 07:01 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Feb 02 - 07:07 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 07:32 PM
InOBU 20 Feb 02 - 07:45 PM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 07:54 PM
InOBU 20 Feb 02 - 08:25 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Feb 02 - 09:11 PM
marty D 20 Feb 02 - 10:51 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Feb 02 - 10:55 PM
M.Ted 21 Feb 02 - 12:34 AM
Janice in NJ 21 Feb 02 - 12:55 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Feb 02 - 07:28 AM
GUEST 21 Feb 02 - 07:39 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Feb 02 - 08:11 AM
InOBU 21 Feb 02 - 08:18 AM
Suffet 21 Feb 02 - 09:33 AM
Ron Olesko 21 Feb 02 - 09:44 AM
M.Ted 21 Feb 02 - 11:57 AM
InOBU 21 Feb 02 - 12:24 PM
Ron Olesko 21 Feb 02 - 01:15 PM
M.Ted 21 Feb 02 - 02:50 PM
Ron Olesko 21 Feb 02 - 03:49 PM
M.Ted 21 Feb 02 - 07:48 PM
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Subject: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 08:08 AM

Welllll.... after a number of folks disagreed with me when I said the Folk scene in New York needs critical care, the great Suzanne Vega said the same in a wonderful letter about the loss of the dear lamented Dave Van Ronk. See New York Times Feb 17 cy 13... where do people play... "some of this happens at the Ear Inn,... but nothing quite takes the place of Folk City..." Don't you know it! Joel Landy and I, Mary Courtney and I, Colin Philhour and I have been saying this, saying we need a PAID, PROFESSIONAL place where new tallent can get heard and get paid, so serrious folk music can come out of the village again, and not get imported for a visit.
Cheersmdears - Larry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 10:06 AM

How about the old talent, Larry? They like to get paid too!


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 10:46 AM

Right you are, M.Ted... in fact when you see real greats and heros scrambling for small venues in New York, you realize how much of a problem it is. In part it is not just the venues, we have to get radio stations to play the music, build audience again. You see the problem when WNYC, a public radio station cuts their classical programing to go to an all talk format. American corporate culture is now bent on only the bigest money makers servive and little gems of culture be damned. So, rock, sex, money, and gossip is what is being sold on US radio, well, here in New York, and the rest can go to hell.
Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 01:46 PM

I'll forgive the rant Larry, because you are absolutely right. The "public radio" stations are even worse than the commercial ones, which, as bad as they are, at least are concerned with appealing to the tastes of their audience--the public stations often act as nothing more than a " vanity press" for their corporate underwriters --


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 02:16 PM

There's a process by which low tech, low cost communal activities become professionalised in a way that squeezes out the people.

Is it possible to get back to the way it was done all those years ago, and just start from there?

Once upon a time a bunch of ordinary people built a vehicle. Then it got taken away from them and rebuilt with shiny panels and plush seats, and a price tag for getting on board that put it out of thge reach of ordinary people. And nobody is allowed to drive it unless they are friends with the people who own it.

So instead of lamenting the loss of the vehicle, isn't it possible to turn round and build it again from scrap, the way it was done in the first place?


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 02:32 PM

Yes--all you have to do is oust the petit-bourgeoisie and destroy the corrupt professional structure that they have created--it is so simple a concept that I am amazed that no one has thought of it before;-)


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 03:19 PM

Don't kid yourself - the new bourgeoisie won't be any better!

Having volunteered at a public radio station since 1975 (WFDU - owned and operated by Fairleigh Dickinson University), I'm afraid the folk scene and radio suffer from the same problems - changing public tastes.

The original post in this thread moaned that there isn't a "PAID, PROFESSIONAL place" in NYC that would serve as a homebase for a folk revival. The reason that there isn't one is because the attendance in previous incarnations dwindled where it wasn't feasible to operate. I believe Folk City closed it's doors when their landlord raised the rent and a new home was never found. Speakeasy and the Fast Folk Cafe suffered the same problems. Attendance is down at most venues in the city, folk and non-folk, so starting a new venture is difficult. Sounds great on paper (or on a computer screen!) but unless somebody with deep pockets is willing to take a chance, it won't happen in that fashion. Thank god there are groups like Pinewoods still keeping it the music alive!

Likewise radio has changed. I consider myself lucky to be part of WFDU-FM where we are given relatively free reign to produce our programs. Many of the other "public" stations in our area have become very commercialized because IT PAYS THE BILLS!! We are in the middle of our fundraising, and while we are doing well enough, the numbers are less than they were a year ago. If management realized they could put a more "profitable" program in our time slot I wouldn't blame them for exploring the possibility. When the choice becomes changing programs or shutting down the business, what do you do?

I guess it boils down to what the public wishes to support. Many people still think that the village is a mecca for folk music and take comfort that it will be there. The reality is those people haven't been to the village in years and don't know what is happening in the clubs and coffeehouses. The same with radio - our show TRADITIONS has been on Sunday afternoons from 3 to 6pm since 1980. People take it for granted and assume it will be there year after year. The same with other shows and stations.

We could get into a philosophical discussion that folk music doesn't need coffeehouses or radio stations to survive. Van Ronk used to say that once a song was recorded it no longer could be considered a folk song. His point was that it lost the oral tradition. He was right, however, whatever label you want to slap on the music that most of us on Mudcat love - it will return to the backporches and living rooms and disappear from the radio and clubs without an audience to support it. Sometimes I think that might not be such a bad thing afterall.

Since Suzanne Vega's comments started this thread, I will try to remember a joke that I once heard her tell - how many folksingers does it take to change a lightbulb? 10 - one to do the work and 9 to talk about how good the old bulb used to be.

Ron Olesko


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 03:29 PM

Still a lot of classical music around (listening to WQXR on the internet now, and there are other choices).
I have to plan to hear folk music, however; the programs that are still out there are often at inconvenient times. Lots of commercial country; two local radio stations devoted to it.
The local scene is moribund; a metropolitan area of over one million. Blues at one small venue, some Irish+maritime or guitar music Saturday nights at local pubs, not much else. Restaurants mostly have abandoned music altogether. A few bars-pubs have recorded country or pop but many also have dropped music altogether.
Marketing of cds of course is mostly in the hands of the big-box stores; we have to go to the internet to order small volume sellers.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 03:56 PM

in the Washington DC-Baltimore area there are still a few places that offer 'folkish' music on some regular basis..usually a coffeehouse or restaurant that devotes one might a week--or month --to it. These places are 'usually' co-opted by singer/songwriter wannabes who are trolling for paying gigs, which is not surprising, but deosn't leave much room for folks who just like to meet and sing more 'trad' stuff.

The only exception seems to be 'theme' music....Irish or Sea Chanties..etc. It has been so long since there was a place that you could go to just hear 'folk music' that I barely make the effort to look anymore..........it is just a downward spiral, the mix changes-some quit coming-the management decides it doesn't pay, so they 'mess' with the program, and more stop going ...and soon, the only thing that will bring in warm bodies is 'name' performers and special events. Open mics are 90% S/S and everyone wonders why so many of them sound the same.

Add to that the statistics that the avarage age of 'folkies' has risen significantly, and they don't go out as often and...well....

no easy solution, even in places like Boston & New York


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 04:31 PM

I still feel all you need is a room people can fit into and a reason for people to be there.

It's not about mass entertainment, or the music industry, it's about people making music primarily for the love of it, for each other, and for other people who love to hear it. Wherever you are.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 05:41 PM

McGrath is right, however the "room" has changed with the times.

Generations ago the folk songs WERE mass entertainment - although the delivery system was different. Without getting into a disussion of the folk process, in general most folk songs were passed songs from generation to generation or via troubadors traveling from town to town. People would carry them when they emigrated and the process was at work. Songs were like heirlooms, and they WERE a form of mass entertainment.

In the 20th century as music was first recorded, the mode changed. People started to become passive listeners instead of active participants.

So the rooms like Folk City or the radio stations that played folk songs became the "room" where people gathered to share their love of the music. The love may have been expressed differently, but it was still expressed.

Now we are in a new century and music is shared and experienced in ways that our ancestors couldn't have imagined. I'm sure 99% of us can pull from a diverse CD collection featuring music of all genres. "Way back when" people could only share music from their family songbook. The oral tradition has been replaced by an electronic tradition - and the clubs and coffeehouses are still needed to carry it on and introduced the music to a new audience that is used to hearing music in such venues.

Sorry, I'm very wordy today. I'll stop rambling - for now!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 06:08 PM

"...the "room" has changed with the times."

indeed it has!..I simply have a hard time accepting that ALL 'rooms' must be the same. Even 20 years ago, when we had one night a week with an open mic specificly for traditional music at a local place, it was a constant struggle to explain to some what we were doing.

We let everyone do 2 songs, pleading that ONE should be 'trad'...and still got grumpy people wanting to do "one I wrote coming over on the bus". Even with other clubs in the area catering to S/S stuff, they didn't want to allow one little island of 'trad' for some of us to retreat to.

When the place was sold and turned into an upscale restaurant, there were severl years of attempts to find another room of the size and 'ambiance' necessary, but it was a losing battle, and the habit of 'going out' fell victim.

We fortunately have some nice events in the FSGW to compensate, but that open mic with a sound system and food and beer and a knowlegable MC are sorely missed.

(waiting for Fortunato to pop on here and say "hey...where were you when.." *grin*...but he knows what I mean)


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 06:56 PM

Bill,

It is so hard to teach a singer-songwriter old tricks! It seems that too many of the artists who book themselves into supposeded "folk" venues have very little idea of what "traditional" means - or is supposed to mean. They think that anyone who picks up a guitar is "traditional". I am so tired of hearing songs about their personal problems. Singer-song"whiners" is what I term that crowd!

I am still VERY encouraged that traditional music is alive and well - even if the crowds aren't showing up at the old clubs anymore. (I hope they will return to listening to the radio real soon!!!). In the NYC area there are a number of talented artists who perform great TRADITIONAL music. AND there are people who are writing great FOLK songs - and by that I mean songs that the audience can relate to and sing along with, not songs that make you feel you are eavesdropping on their therapy sessions!

As you point out Bill, there doesn't have to be one "room". The music doesn't have to be a commercial smash for the tradition to continue, it just needs some dedicated groups like the Hurdy-Gurdy, Folk Project, or Pinewoods here in the NJ/NYC area to keep it thriving. There are also some wonderful house concerts and a few open mics. If enough people particpate and offer encouragement, the music will thrive. It does take people to get up off their butts and particpate AND support these venues however!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 08:38 PM

"songs that the audience can relate to and sing along with" - those are two different things. The first is the one that matters most. Singing along and choruses are only part of "the tradition", and not the largest part by any means. And personal songs are very much part of "the tradition" too.

What matters is that songs are honest, and link with the things that matter to the people who hear them as well as to the person or people singing.

I hate the term "singer songwriter" - I think it's better to speak of someone as singing a song they made up themselves. Sometimes it's a good song, sometimes it isn't, and that's what matters. If it's a good song almost always it will have roots and relatives among other songs you might already know. It'll belong to a tradition, in other words.

I suspect that in the British Isles there are probably more people making their own music than there ever were in the folk boom years, and doing it better. Fewer people making a living at it.

Folk musicians aren'yt unique in this of course. There aren't many people making a living as poets either -and the ones who are aren't necessarily the best. That's how it goes.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 09:01 PM

" "songs that the audience can relate to and sing along with" - those are two different things. The first is the one that matters most. Singing along and choruses are only part of "the tradition", and not the largest part by any means. And personal songs are very much part of "the tradition" too."

I think I said the wrong thing. I should have not have put the words "sing along with" in my statement. What I should have said was simply "sing". Too often songwriters write songs that only THEY can sing. I was referring to songs that are owned by everyone - even though one person wrote it. That is what makes it part of the tradition, not just one person's tradition. That is what I was attempting to say, but I ramble too much!!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 09:36 PM

hear hear Ron. I've been able to keep "Acoustic Workshop" going for fourteen years now because of ONE REASON only. Every year at fundraising time, Heather and I remind ALL our friends and musical acquaintances that they NEED to support it....and they do. Some give a hundred bucks a year, and most, twenty five. This way we meet our goal which is usually a couple of thousand bucks.

My guess is that the Rap, Reggae, hip-hop, and modern rock shows get twenty times the listeners we do...simply because their music is popular, and ours (old time fiddles, banjos, balladeers, Folk-Legacy, and Folkways stuff etc.) is extremely UNpopular.

CIUT has never told me what to play or how to play it...but without that fundraising money, I'd be gone in a heartbeat...which would be totally fair, because why SHOULD anyone support a "fringe music" that won't support itself.

The club in town that I've mentioned many times, "Hugh's Room" is doing really well, with some pretty folky acts....but my guess is the owner has probably lost at least twenty five thousand dollars (or more) up to now. Perhaps he'll make it back now that bums are in the seats, but I'll tell ya...he's a long time Festival goer and folk lover first....and obviously a businessman SECOND. There ain't many like him around.

Personally, in order to keep splitting my time between teaching and gigging, I have to maintain an extensive mailing list, a constantly updated website, rickfielding and a clear understanding that I have to win supporters for what I do, by ones and twos. Many of the venues I play each year are "created" ones, 'cause I'll never have the profile of someone who gets a lot of ink. If someone comes up to me after a concert and says "when are you coming to my town", I just say "when you set up a show"! Funny thing...it works. It's got it's good points though...I rarely have to deal with Bar owners!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 10:25 PM

Rick,

What you say about "friends" is so true. We do fundraising once per year, and it is so rewarding to see the same names coming back year after year and pledging their support. It is the dedicated people who make the committment that keep this music alive. As you say, it is also people who create venues for artists to perform that deserve so much credit.

The amazing thing is - it take so little to make things work. Just attending a show or making a contribution goes a long way to keeping these traditions alive. People really can make a difference without breaking a sweat.

Hat's off to the owner of Hugh's Room. It takes a lot of courage to stick with something when your income is on the line!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 04:47 AM

Hi Ron: Fact is all this is very complicated. Dwindling audiences is not the whole equations, high rents, caberet licences all have their place in the problem. As our friend Steve Suffit points out, folks are buying the sound track to Oh Brother Where Art Thou on a grand scale and it still is not being played proportionaly on the radio, so in addressing the problems of extrodinary tallents here in New York, like Mary Courtney, who are not finding the bookings that should be justified by their tallents, well, we need just what McGrath says, to find a room.
However, finding a room is more than finding four wall in New York, it is getting the support from radio, and other media, for more than the Big Mac culture. The bottom line (no pun intended for one of the last dependable folk venues here) is usually the least common denominator.
As to folks not knowing the village, well, I have lived here, played the clubs here, busked on the street here for over 30 years, back to the time when St. Marks Place was the lower east side, not the "east village..." And I am not yet willing to pack up and move to Quebec to make a living playing meaningful music, though I admit, it is a constant temptation.
But, as part of the old networking... as Rick can attest to, you may find our band something other than the self indulgent music you describe, and I'd love to send you a CD for your station's concideration. So, Ron, PM me an address and it will be in the mail right away...
Rick... another radio station, this one in Maine joins one in Montreal now playing our stuff, I will post the call letters later when I get them, so if atmospheric conditions are right, you may hear our sound drifting ore the boarder.
Cheers all,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 11:26 AM

Larry,

You can count on WFDU and my programs for helping to spread the message. My email address for anyone who has events they would like promoted in the NYC/Northern NJ area is wfdutraditions@aol.com. The station address is WFDU-FM 1000 River Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 You can mark it to my attention - Ron Olesko.

As you said Larry dwindling audiences is not the whole problem, but if the audiences are there it makes the other problems easier to deal with.

I would also suggest that New York City is not the only market. While it is important, there are some wonderful opportunities in the suburbs. Transportation is a problem for some of the artists - I've had a number of musicians who couldn't travel to NJ to be on my show or perform at a local club. I would suggest to musicians that they do explore the possibilities - word of mouth of a good performance in NJ, Rockland, Westchester, etc. will have a bearing on getting opportunities in NYC.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 12:06 PM

Seems to me the complaint is with the Anglo dominant folk culture here. Other music cultures seem blissfully unaware of the angst over the "death of folk" because they are busy enjoying the living traditions of their music cultures. This is as true in Quebec as it is in Mexico City, and I don't mean that there is one monolithic music culture/folk community in either place.

I really don't understand the handwringing over this, when it seems to me that it is the Anglocentric folkies and those who have assimilated into the Anglo dominant folk scene who dominate the airwaves.

Which is why Latin music never bothers anymore with the gringo stations, and why Irish musicians have their own circuit too.

To my mind, the best folk music isn't on the radio or in folk clubs, and hasn't been for years. But I have a blast every year at our local bluegrass festival (much more family friendly than a coffeehouse or pub or bar!), and we play music and sing at home all the time! And are involved in the Latin dance craze, where we will go anywhere to dance! And there are a number of local ceilis too!

Some of us just don't seem to be as proud or stuck up as some of you folk alarmists are. I think the state of folk/trad music is healthier than it has ever been. I have more choices to hear and participate in excellent music experiences than I ever have.

I happen to love listening to a lot of singer/songwriters, but I want to hear them live in intimate concert settings, not on radio or in a bar with an obnoxious amount of smoke and drunks. I LOVE the fact that I can see Greg Brown or Mary Chapin Carpenter play really intelligent music in an intimate, respectful setting. So what is the problem with that?

Get a music life! Bring it home, take it out, do whatever you want. But wise up and realize that radio isn't part of the so-called "folk process" any more than folk clubs and coffeehouses are!


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Suffet
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 12:58 PM

Larry (InOBU) is both wrong and right at the same time. In one respect the folk scene in New York metro area, from a strictly musical standpoint, has never been healthier. Venues abound, including clubs with bar facilities, clubs without bar facilities, colleges and universities, coffee houses, house concerts, folk music society sponsored concerts, open mikes/stages, festivals, song circles, open jam sessions, and more. If you look, you shall find.

Where Larry is right is that it's nearly impossible to make a living as a folk musician. Yes, there are a relative few who have managed to do so, including the late Dave Van Ronk. But even he had to work like a dog just to scratch out enough to keep above the poverty line. The sad truth is that almost anyone can land a gig in New York, but it's going to pay bupkas whether you the next up and coming Dave Van Ronk or just some kid who can bang out three chords on some God-awful fiberglass guitar.

Case in point: A good friend of mine, an exceptionally talented singer, is one of the Johnson Girls. Everyone raves about them, they are constantly appearing in concert or at festivals, and their CD is selling well. In addition, the same person is one of The NexTradition. But does she make her living from her music? No, she is a high school teacher. An unusual story? No, it's fairly typical.

What we need, and I believe Larry would agree, are opportunities that would allow for a healthy mix of talented amateurs, part-time and semi-professionals, and full-time professionals. The current situation allows for the first two, but only rarely for the third.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 01:02 PM

But that's the way it has always been for musicians, for writers, for painters, for most any sort of artist you can think of--in any genres.

Now, I'm not in favor of starving artists to death, even the good ones. But until they start paying me what they pay basketball players, the handwringing is puttin' on too much of the poor mouth for me! Sure I'd be much more productive creatively if I didn't have to work to pay the bills. So what? I know all the other artists I know are in the same boat, and doing whatever it takes to do what they want to do.

At least we have that, and I wouldn't trade the hard work and all I get out of it for anything! We don't have to be victims to be artists, fer chrissake!


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 01:03 PM

Guest,

"Get a music life"? Just who is the one being "proud or stuck" up now???

Who is "wringing their hands" about the "death of folk"? If you re-read the posts I don't think that was really what any of us were saying. We are just looking to keep it healthy and spreading, not to remain a close-knit circle that doesn't open new doors.

We are always going to find ways to improve or expand our horizons. Nobody is denying that it is a wonderful thing to hear Greg Brown or Mary Chapin Carpenter in an intimate smoke-free setting. I'm not sure why you thought otherwise. The point we were trying to make is that it would ALSO be wonderful to see someone singing sea chanties or Appalachian ballads in similar settings, and to find places where the next generation of Greg Browns and Mary Chapin Carpenters can hone their skills. You find fault with that????

The genres you mention - Latin Dance, Irish Trad and even bluegrass play to a very SPECIFIC audience and often doesn't attempt to introduce their passions to others that might potentially enjoy the style. If you go to a folk festival you will often find music of all varietys, including those you mentioned. When you go to an Irish or bluegrass festival you rarely get an opportunity to experience anything else.

You also say that radio is not part of the folk process- how wrong you are!!! Radio, TV, clubs, concert halls, living rooms, schools, and the Internet are ALL part of the folk process as defined in the year 2002. These are tools that are available to perpetuate folk music in the era that we live in. Of course the tools were different in 1902, 1802, 1702, etc. We use the tools we are given!

If anything, the "anglocentric" folk music that you refer to is guilty of not having a definition - of trying to appeal to a variety of tastes, cultures, and ages. I think that is a great thing.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 01:13 PM

Nah, I didn't read it that way at all Ron. I read it as you were looking to keep your own gig going.

The genres I mention have all attempted to do cross-over into the Anglo scene, but despite the occasional hick-up trend, they are resoundingly ignored, especially by the most powerful public radio stations, which cater to the Anglos.

If I go to a bluegrass festival, it is to experience the bluegrass scene, in addition to hearing the music. Same with Irish music, and salsa dancing. So what is the problem with that? I can't do one stop mall shopping? Thank you.

Frankly, I get pretty fed up with the Anglos whining around about how nobody listens to them anymore. Frankly, I think they should wise up and get a clue. Hello--if no one is listening, maybe it is because what you are doing is irrelevant navel gazing, and living off your past. Why, just because you think your music is more special than everyone else's, should the rest of the music cultures of the world NOT be who they are, rather than trying to cater to the masses like the Anglophones do, and then whine around about it when they are universally ignored?


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 01:54 PM

My dear anonymous Guest:
You win a Sorcha Dorcha CD, email me at InOBU@aol.com, and I hope you will not be very embarrassed by your prejudice. Now, I am the last to speak about reverse prejudice ... but let us look at the assumptions. 1. I am completely "Anglo" writing to "Anglo Interests." Historically, we Anglo Irish are a tribe separate from Anglo Saxon England by six hundred years of history bad, good bad, a wee bit good, lots more bad, in short a complex old time. However we are no longer Anglo in many senses, in the same way that we are no longer Norman (my background) or Danish, our earliest family memories. We are Irish.
As such, I am a very traditional Irish singer and Uilleann piper, and I can tell you, struggling here in New York, as is my Celtic Irish sister Mary Courtney of Morning Star - I am quite afraid your comments about a healthy (well paid) Irish scene in New York is not true.
Now, does my poetry and music speak to Anglo issues alone? Nope. On our latest CD Nil Sasta Ach Amadain (only idiots are satisfied) - I have a song about my mother's tradition, the continuing oppression and murder of Roma (Gypsies).
Not being obsessed with my own interests, I have a song I have written about the invisibility racialism creates which led to the murder of Amadou Diallo.
In my capacity and as a judge in an Algonquin Court, I undertook to take law students to survey the human rights abuses heaped on the Innu, a linguistic cousin of the nation I have the honor to serve, out of this continuing part of my life and hearts blood comes the song Yvette's Song, about the triumph of my sister Yvette Michelle against forced assimilation.
Anglo interests, well, listen to the CD and tell me, Quite seriously, email me and I will send it to you, as a gift.
Is mise, le meas, Lorcan Otway


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 01:57 PM

PS Ron... The CD is in the mail, thanks and best wishes.
Larry (The Voice of Anglo Ireland... just kidding guest... no offence I hope.)


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 03:19 PM

I do agree with anonymous GUEST on a couple points--I was in Ensenada a while back, and in the evening, bands of strolling guitarists move through the streets from one restaurant or cafe to another, where they perform for tips--these guys have great chops, tend to kno everything, and, most important, make a living at it. Not a dead tradition, by any stretch of the imagination.

My experience has been that general audiences tend to respond better to traditional or folk stuff, especially when it is familiar, than they do to the singer/somgwriter sort of stuff. at least if the performers are good performers and have taken care to put together a good show. The problem, if there is a problem, with traditional/folk music, is thatcertain people want it to be as accepted as popular music, and they don't know or want to know how to present it in a way that appeals to the popular market.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 03:25 PM

Dear Anonimous Guest and my old pal M.Ted...
I am generally fond of thread drift, do it myself... as long as you don't claim thread drift as part of the point... No one said folk is dead, only dead (not profitably healthy) in New York, a topic we discussed a while back, and I pointed out Susanne Vega agrees with me. As far as I know, I know nothing about the folk scene in Ensenda, and I assume it is not some part of the west village I have missed over the years... no problem with your observation... just lets keep to the point friends. Larry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Erica Smith
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 03:40 PM

I'm going to back up a bit. When I first read Suzanne Vega's article, she seemed most (to my ears) to be bemoaning the lack of a scene; at least, the kind of scene she knew when she was coming up. Makes me wonder what island she's living on, coz it sure ain't mine!!!

I have more places to go tonight than I can possibly get to: 1) pinewoods hotenanny 2) caroline cutroneo at the c-note 3) open stage at the raven cafe. Each of these places chock full of top-notch artists deeply enmeshed in thriving music communities full of folks whom I adore.

Ms. Vega needs to get out more!!

erica (probably going to see caroline tonite!!!!! have a good hootenanny, suffet, and give my love to the folks:)


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 03:52 PM

Guest,

Relax! You seem to be doing a lot of reading between the lines and making assumptions. Sorry if we weren't clear!

I'm sorry you infer things that aren't there. I wasn't knocking Irish or bluegrass fests - I just pointed out the difference. Folk Festivals GENERALLY try to incorporate a lot of various styles. In effect the folk festival is the stage for people to discover new sounds.

Your statement "Why, just because you think your music is more special than everyone else's, should the rest of the music cultures of the world NOT be who they are" is really presumptious. I don't believe any of us tried to make that statement and I really resent your assumption. I will try to word it another way - folk music represents a world of cultures - not just an individual with an acoustic guitar. I find it to be a sampler if you will and the greatest gift I receive from it is finding the common thread that exists.

As for "looking to keep your own gig going", hell yes!! Why do you have a problem with that??? I'm also hoping that organizations and individuals like Pinewoods, the Hurdy-Gurdy, Comhalas Celtori Eireann, Sing Out!, Dirty Linen, Smithsonian Folkways, Folk-Legacy,Arhoolie, Gene Shay, Sonny Ochs, Robert Sherman, Oscar Brand, Jean Ritchie, Pete Seeger, Tommy Makem, the Old Songs Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and thousands of other individuals and groups keep their gigs going. I'm proud to be a very small link in big and still growing chain.

Guest, I'm still not sure why you are think we are "whining" about the demise of folk music. A human body needs constant excercise and attention in order to live fully, so does a genre of music that many of us on this site happen to love. Don't begrudge any of us for trying to participate.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 04:47 PM

Larry, I have a bit of advice, and that is to look fo gigs outside of the city--When I was back in Philly, and still had the folkdance band(not to imply that Philly is NYC, or that we were on a par with Sorcha Dorcha) we drew fairly small numbers, but when we started doing gigs outside the city limits, we did much better--With much trepidation we took a booking at a suburban mall, and drew huge crowd, including more than a hundred dancers--they knew us and liked us, but wouldn't come into town for our gigs--gotta go to where the people are! (of course, as we made more money, there were more conflicts, and the band fell apart, but that is another story)--


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 04:48 PM

Gee Ron... I was just sitting down to write my latest song, the Stouthearted Oaks of Jolly old England... - sorry couldn't help a bit of levity. Well, Erica, nice you are doing well, I was impressed you could flog CDs for as reasonable a price as you do... some of us are having trouble paying the band enough to pay the rint, but no sarcasm, I really am happy you can pay your bills through your art, and art it is for any who have not heard Erica play. Nice work if ya can get it.
Larry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Erica Smith
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 05:13 PM

oh no Larry, i'm definitely not paying any bills through my art! I was focusing more on SV's original commentary on the lack of a 'scene' in NYC; or that folk music in NYC is homeless. I opine that there is more of a scene now than ever, and more varied, with many homes.

looking back to your original post, i see you emphasize "paid, professional" . . . i don't qualify for either of those!


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 05:19 PM

Difference between you and me, InOBU is I don't equate a healthy tradition with you and your family being well paid.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 05:33 PM

Actually Ron, I think you are making sweeping generalisations. You said:

" I will try to word it another way - folk music represents a world of cultures - not just an individual with an acoustic guitar."

Well Ron, one of the music cultures of the world, flamenco, is an individual with an acoustic guitar. See what I mean?

That is your Anglocentricity showing, and you don't have to have a drop of English blood to be assimilated into the dominant Anglo American music culture which presumes every guy with an acoustic guitar isn't "folk."

I also have no problem with you or anyone else earning money at playing the music you prefer. I just have a problem with people whining because they don't think enough people listen to the music they like, being played just the way they like it.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 05:41 PM

Guest -

I'm not sure what your point is about flamenco - as I said folk music is not JUST an individual with an acoustic guitar. Of course flamenco and solo guitar is a part of this diverse genre - that was EXACTLY the point I was trying to get across. Jug bands, string bands, sean nos, mountain ballads, sea chanties, chain gang songs, and ethnic music of all kinds - they are all part of the tradition. A stew if you will - a big pot but each retaining it's flavor.

I really don't think anyone was whining. I'm a volunteer so I don't count. Yes there are musicians that would love to do this full time, but that is true with every genre as well. I would also love to get paid to host a folk music radio program full-time (I'm open to any offer - wfdutraditions@aol.com!!!!) but lets all be realistic. IF anyone makes some financial gain that is great, but I hope that is not the driving reason for anyone to participate in this.

I'm not sure if I understand what you were trying to say about my "anglocentricty"... could you elaborate on that paragraph?

The scary thing is I think we both agree Guest - based on your last paragraph. My other point was that I don't think based on the messages here that people were whining.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Erica Smith
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 05:48 PM

oh, good heavens!

Thank you for enlightening us to the existence of flamenco music, GUEST. Let me know when you have your 21st bithday; I'll take you out for a drink.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 05:52 PM

Correction, the sentence should have read...

"...to be assimilated into the dominant Anglo American music culture which presumes every guy with an acoustic guitar is "folk."

I'm assuming that makes my paragraph clearer as well.

As to the remark about Anglocentricity--most European Americans, unless they have recently immigrated here, have assimilated into the dominant Anglo American culture.

I also read your sentence clarifying what you had said in a previous post to be another example of Anglocentricity. I don't think we are saying the same thing, but you should also know, I'm not upset or offended if we agree or disagree. Just saying that I was reading something different into your message than you felt you were saying. Which in the great big world of the internet doesn't necessarily mean you are wrong and I am right, or vice versa.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 05:57 PM

- unnamed thread


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Suffet
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:10 PM

Both Erica and Larry are right. As I said earlier, the folk scene in the New York metro area is incredibly vibrant. (Both Erica and Larry in their own ways contributed more than their fair share to that vibrancy. They know it. But all you out of town 'Catters should know it as well!)

Erica is correct that today's New York folk scene not the same scene that Suzanne remembers, essentially because it is no longer anchored in Greenwich Village. But it is clearly a continuation of that scene. Some of the people are the same. Bob Malenky, for example. Or Danny Kalb. Or Mike Agranoff. Need I go on? The only difference is that they've moved to Washington Heights, or to the Bronx, or to Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island, New Jersy, or southwestern Connecticut. And rather than that being a loss, it is an accomplishment, for now you can find quality folk music alive and well in clubs, pubs, schools, churches, living rooms, and coffee houses in all those places.

But Larry is still right on target in pointing out how the good paying venues are few and far between.

As far as supposed Anglo-centricity is concerned, what's the problem? Is the USA not primarily an Anglophonic country? But anyway, the New York folk music scene has historically welcomed non-Anglophonic musical traditions.

By the way, the New York Pinewoods traditional music open microphone originally scheduled for tonight (2/20/02) has been canceled. The event is moving from the Triad Lounge to another location nearby. With a little luck, the new site will be available by next month's session (3/20/02). Please call Folk-Fone at 212-563-4099 for details.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: artbrooks
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:34 PM

Real folks: you are being trolled. Sometimes its hard to tell...


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:43 PM

Right, any dissenting point of view from a nameless guest is a troll. You guys aren't too full of your own opinions, are you? I know, why not demand Max censor my posts in this thread too? Wouldn't want anyone disagreeing with the likes of you good folk!

I think you need to click on that link of McGrath's and take the pledge there, artbrooks. Its a kind of a poison, it is, having to point out all the trolls to the rest of the Mudcat. I'm sure they couldn't see with their own eyes, and decide for themselves if I was a troll or not. Nay, they needed you to come tell them that, since they can't be trusted to think for themselves. It also appears as though some of them even intended to tolerate the presence of an anon guest who disagreed with them! The shame!


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:45 PM

Guest,

Thanks for clarifying your remark. That is what I said in my note previous so I'm not sure why you were disagreeing by agreeing with me!! You've lost me with how you think my statements are examples of anglocentrity. I thought I was saying that folk music encompasses more than just the singer with guitar stereotype. Do I make any sense to anyone else???

I guess as artbrooks said you are just trolling and since you don't have a name I guess he is right.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:50 PM

Et tu, Ron? Well, since you decided to play that tired old game, I don't believe I owe you the courtesy of a follow-up response either.

I guess that wraps it up, don't it?


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:58 PM

Hey, I'm 21. Well let' s just say I'm 21+. Anyone want to buy me a drink? Erica? Ron? Guest?


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: artbrooks
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 07:01 PM

Janice, I will, but there is no civilization east of the Rockies. Wanna come to New Mexico?


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 07:07 PM

Sorry guest, but it really is a tired old game. Without knowing who you are I can only base my thoughts on your comments - and you twisting our words.

Janice - congratulations. Since we are both in NJ I would be happy to buy you a drink. Come here often?? Traditional or singer-songwriter? What's your sign? :)

Art, do you mean to say there is something west of the Rockies????

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 07:32 PM

That is the reason why I post as an anon guest Ron--so you have to respond to my comments, not an identity which you are able to project your prejudices and cultural assumptions on because you don't wish to address the comments.

Vive la difference, eh?

I'm afraid I won't see 21 again until my next life, so I'll take a rain check there Erica. Nice chatting with you too.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 07:45 PM

Janice! I am going to be performing somewhere in New Jersey on March 9, I will let you know the details, a fundraiser for some cause or another, I think it is homelessness (against it...). I am playing with a nice group under the direction of the tallented Colin Philhour, of the Armagh Philhours...
Let's not be too quick to call the guest a troll. I do believe the guest does not read very closely or knows the struggle to make art in a big city, so lets be gentle and instructive. I never said I wish to make a lot of money. If I wanted to make a lot of money, there are ways to prostitute my law degree to do that, but it takes such time committment to make gobs of money at law, I don't know a lot of lawyers who can make art as well. Some can, I can't. I also don't feel there is a place for me in a lawyer's social change movement, I think, in my philosophy, social change needs to be driven by culture again, not court rooms.
So gobs of money, no, enough to keep tallented people backing me, as there are not a lot of dedicated Irish musicians I have found (dedicated to social change as my music is...)
So dear guest, the world is a hard place, and the older you get the harder the choices. But we Quakers believe in doing what we can to make a better world now, rather that waiting for justice in heaven.
In past times, social comentary as art kept you poor but honest, today social commentary art keeps you looking up to poverty as a goal.
From your worry about Anglo centricity, I would emagine you would approve of what a lot of us are up to, so I renew my offer, email InOBU@aol.com and I will send you a free CD, and I promice not to "out you" if you wish to remain an anonomus brick thrower. But I do think you should know something about the music you are publicly attacking.
Erica, I must admitt to being a bit relieved to hear you are also struggling to not pay bills with the music! I was wondering what the rest of us were doing wrong!!! All the best, Larry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 07:54 PM

I think MTed's advice is sound. If you aren't filling your tip jars where you are at, why not try greener pastures? I don't live in the City of New York, but have lived on the outskirts of the city and think MTed's suggestion make a load of sense.

Also, if you can't make any money in the "traditional" venues, how about trying some radically untraditional ones?

I dunno, it just seems to me some folks like crying in their beer and sayin' "ain't it awful" when all they need is a new perspective, and new strategy, new goals, a change...


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 08:25 PM

As I said, things are much more complicated than appears at first thought. For example, I don't make enough to replace our van, which died, and you can't move a band and PA in a small rental car, so we have to make enough at an out of town gig to pay for the van rental. We do out of town gigs, Monroe New York, lovely gig, small, very small margin of profit, generaly my band gets paid, the van gets payed and I wind up in the red.
We just got back from playing in North Carolina, where we got a wonderful reception, praise from Peggy Seeger and Sy Kahn, and I wound up about $500 in the red.
SO this is why folk bands need to be paid, it costs money to bring this music to folks, and the artists should not be the ones standing the bill, eh?
I don't understand why we should pay for the honor of driving 12 hours to play for an appreciative audience. If you like folk music, be nice to folk musicians.
Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:11 PM

Guest,

You say that you post as an anon guest "so you have to respond to my comments, not an identity which you are able to project your prejudices and cultural assumptions on". If that is true, then I guess you are then saying that your comments are based on your prejudices and cultural assumptions because you know our names?? I am so sorry for you if that is the case.

Sorry guest. I still don't know where you are coming from - projecting prejudices and cultural assumptions? I feel I did address your comments but you then seem to be attacking me for supposed "Anglocentricity" which you have yet to qualify. I honestly do not know where you are getting that from. I am scratching my head trying to figure out what I said that made you draw such a conclusion.

I apologize for taking this thread off course slightly, but if I am reading Guest's comments correctly I find it offensive.

The bottom line the rest of us were trying to make is that folk music (however we want to define it)has a healthy future, but it still needs support - as does any worthwile artform.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: marty D
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 10:51 PM

Oh, my. Such an interesting thread, and once again, members get into personal arguments with un-named cyber-spirits who have nothing to lose by getting nastier as the thread goes on. Weren't the events of the last two weeks enough to convince you NOT to respond? Surely you have enough self-control to not fall for all this again.

I had a question, but I'll save it for another thread (or I'll start one).

marty


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 10:55 PM

You are right Marty. Guilty as charged. My apologies to the group. We aren't perfect.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 12:34 AM

A couple things: a bit late, but, I was being droll with the remark about the bourgeoisie--(hence the smilie)--because I thought that Kevin's comment was a bit naive--next thing, I don't think our anonymous GUEST is a troll at all, but has some rather interesting things to say--the word "Anglocentric" seems to have thrown a few people, but it is not a bad choice, and is less offensive than, say, "gringo" or some of the other words that can be applied--

America is a great melting pot, at least on the surface, but many people bring and keep a lot of their own culture with them, especially their traditions of music and dance. New York and environs are great repositories for living musical traditions--pick your ethnicity, Turkish, Cambodian, Egyptian, Persian, Swedish(as are other big cities)--the point being that most of the "folk" community that Ron has mapped out above, in rather extensive detail, neither know nor care about any of it--

There is nothing wrong with playing, listening to, or promoting "American" or British Isles music, but it would be nice if there was some recognition that that isn't the whole ball of wax--and, with all due respect, Ron, the music that you have mentioned, and the music you choose to play, favors the English language stuff--


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 12:55 AM

I for one have enjoyed the Spanish folk music of the NJ-NY-Southern New England region for many years, particularly the bomba y plena traditions of Puerto Rico. But I don't turn on WFDU Traditions to hear it. So what! That doesn't detract one iota from the very fine program that Ron Olesko and his partner Bill Hahn put together. Nor does it mean that WFDU listeners are close minded, bigoted, or whatever.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 07:28 AM

I ran a folk concert series at the Stamford Museum, an hour's drive north of New York City. Depending on definition, it was at least one of the longest-running series in New England. We heard an enormous amount of great, traditional or tradition-based music there, including several Mudcatters. Why did I finally stop running it? Not out of a lack of love for the music. And not because I didn't have a wonderful room with great acoustics. And not because the boss wouldn't let me do it any more, because I was the boss. I finally had to give up, because the audience was so small I couldn't justify doing it any more. I went two years without breaking even on a single concert. You reach a point when you can't justify running a series for so few people. So, what changed? First of all, the audience got old. We went from sell-out crowds for years to thirty or forty people, because I didn't book them danged singer/songwriters. Other coffee houses booked mostly twenty-somethings who had never heard of the Carter Family. Traditional Folk music for them was James Taylor. (Who I like.) Some couples used to bring their kids, and a few of them might still like folk music. But, it was a rare night when there were more than two or three people under forty. Forget "What if you gave a war, and nobody came?" What if you have a beautiful space with great acoustics and singers like Dave Van Ronk, Jean Ritchie, Art Thieme, Sandy & Caroline, and you can't draw a big enough audience to cover the costs? All those above used to sell out their concerts in the glory years. By the end, I couldn't sell out a 110 seat room for Dave Van Ronk. He was willing to take considerably less money than he was used to making, and I still lost money. Some times you have to let things go, and wait for the next time around. It will probably come, but not necessarily on the scale of Greenwich Village in the sixties. Even the Greenwich Village I loved, where you could walk down the street and have your pick of a dozen places that had live folk music, and you could hear Reverend Gary Davis at a pass-the-hat little hole really only lasted four or five years. What killed it? When people discovered you could make money out of it. It killed the "scene" but not the music.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 07:39 AM

MTed, glad someone could read beyond the from: line and understand the point I was making. Makes the hassle of posting a dissenting opinion worth it! thanks.


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 08:11 AM

Naive maybe. But sometimes when you need an earth mover, what you need isn't a bulldozer, it's a spade.

There's an analogy (not a one-to-one analogy)with the way that every now and then you have to reboot a computer and start it again.

The folk boom years came out of a particular period in which a lot of things were suddenly coming to light which had been nearly destroyed. There was a relatively small number of people playing the music well enough to get by, and a larger number interested enough to make it possible for a living to be made. Maybe something like that will happen again some time, things go in cycles.

But right now there is probably a much larger number of people around who are playing the music, all kinds of music. That's what really matters.

(And if anyone who's been offered a free copy of InOBU's Sorcha Dorcha CD doesn't take it up, they can't be too into good music.)


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 08:18 AM

Hi M.Ted: Actually, short of direct slander from anonimous guests, I don't feel trolling is a great sin. In fact, our not very brave guest has raised issues which I think led to a real examination of the issues here. I would point out that the reason some use the word trolling for our guest is that the guest made some assumptions about the speakers which are completely false, but as a result, we had more talk, and about good stuff. I do think readers should weigh what folks say about others against the degree the speaker comes out into the sunlight, but we folkies should not fear voices from the shaddows, after all, we speak often, to and for the margins - right down to Mad Maudlin and Tom.
Jerry Rassmusin hits it on the head. In order to build audiences, we need to reach out to successful folks who come out of our traditions, Wouldn't it be great to have a venue like the Bottom Line have new unsigned bands and artist opening for the likes of Susanna Vega, or Judy Collens? THAT is how you build new audience for new bands, or the old audiences get old and die.
Cheers,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Suffet
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 09:33 AM

Reminds me of the time I went to Gerdes Folk City and heard Simon & Garfunkle open for Seth Evans. (Seth who? Well, if you recall your Greenwich Village trivia, Seth Evans dressed in western garb, had a deep voice, played a Gibson SJ, and was having a torrid love affair with one of the Witches of Wellfleet.)

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 09:44 AM

Janice, MTED, and all,

Thank you for your comments. It is true, our radio program TRADITIONS does focus on Anglo-based traditions. Bill and I make every attempt to "sample" different cultures on our show, and WFDU does offer other programs that explore Latin jazz, gospel and Jewish music - and we also offer Putamayo's weekly radio series. No radio station can claim to offer programming for everyone, but we try to present shows that our listeners enjoy and can learn from.

I couldn't possibly make a claim to be an expert on all types of music, nor am I apologizing for playing the music we play. The heritages that we celebrate are important to keep alive and to expose new audiences to. We try to build our show like a good folk festival - moving from stage to stage to sample the talents and traditions of a variety of styles. While the program may be geared towards a common "sound", we do make every attempt to sample diverse genres of folk music. While I am not educated in the music of Cambodia or Turkey enough to talk intelligently about their styles, I am comfortable with sampling those musical genres on the air and perhaps finding a thread with "anglo" music - such as an instrument, a subject, or a simply a beat. I am comfortable with discussing Child ballads, sea chanties or contemporary folk songs and presenting them to an audience who will appreciate the blend. I also feel that the organizations and individuals that I mentioned in a previous post, while also "anglo"-based, try to accomplish the same things. Exposure to the diverse world of folk music while focusing on a common audience - an audience that is mostly "anglo".

Again, my apologies for becoming defensive to our anonymous guest. This person did raise some good thoughts and this discussion has been a good one. I just took offense at the inference that the music we play is bigoted in any overt way.

And now we return you to our regularly scheduled discussion, already in progress....

Ron Olesko


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 11:57 AM

Of course I was only reacting to your comment, Kevin--I always look forward to your insights--

I think Jerry's experience, and his comments on them are particularly important here. because they shed a lot of light on what happened--when I was still in school (at a major Midwestern University) we could fill 200 and 400 seat theaters with a bill that consisted of only local acts--it ended partly because the audiences moved on, and probably, partly because most of use weren't as good as we thought (some of us moved on to big cities where we found out exactly how good we weren't)--

The comments here point up the fact that it is really a "best of times/worst of times" scenario, because, though the "folk bubble" burst, many people kept playing and listening and such, so there are more and better performers and musicians than ever--anyway, in the old days, there were *never* bands around like Larry's (GUEST, I thought of telling him that I had been posting anonymously, just to get that CD)--

Ron, the insights that you provide into your work, and the workings of a public radio station, are much appreciated, even when they just remind us that there is often quite a big space that must be bridged between the mission statement and the realities of the marketplace--


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 12:24 PM

M.Ted and McGrath: I really am touched and honored always by praise for my music, and feel it is praise to a family tradition as well, so there is a long line of us thanking you... M.Ted! Wasn't it your friend who saw your name on an envelope I was mailing you a few years ago, your college roomate, standing next to me on the post office line, and to add to the cooincidence, had stopped to listen to us play when the doors were open for the warm weather while we were the house band at ... damn I can't remember the name of the club on St. Marks... well, anyway, you are about due for an update, so drom me a PM and I will send ya the new work. Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 01:15 PM

M.Ted -

You are so right! It is one thing to have a goal in mind about what you would like to present (either on radio, in concert, etc.). The execution of the goal presents one set of obstacles, and then the reality of the marketplace often deliver a whole new set of circumstances. I guess if we all had the answers we would be millionaires! The important thing is that most of us continue to work toward those goals. I hope that all of us continue to give encouragement to those local acts that you mention - the crowds might be sparse but the field will remain fertile!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 02:50 PM

Yes, Larry, you ran into Bruce, who told me about it a week or so later, when he popped in unexpectedly at my birthday party (I hadn't seen him for 20 years!)--anyway, PM on the way!

Ron, By now, you will be giving encouragement to their kids--there are a surprising number of young people who picked up a taste for traditional music from their "folknik" folks--but they put their own spin on it--when I taught, I had some of the heavy metal kids who wanted to fingerpick, and once even was surprised at an anarchist free concert to hear a grunge version "What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor" (lyrics slightly altered to something to do with Fascists) courtesy a student's band-


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 03:49 PM

M.Ted -

That is an encouraging fact! I went to the Old Songs festival last year and it was so good to see families sharing the music. As you pointed out it is also a good sign to see these trad songs being put to new use. I always felt it was a living tradition!

If we can get the Britney Spears to do an album of Child Ballads we might have something!!! I'm not sure I want to find out what that would be, but it would be something!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Suzanne Vega agrees with InOBU...
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 07:48 PM

Don't see why it wouldn't work, Ron--she is a child star---(sorry)


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