mudcat.org: What makes folk music American?
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


What makes folk music American?

Jerry Rasmussen 03 Mar 02 - 09:52 AM
Alice 03 Mar 02 - 11:44 AM
Herga Kitty 03 Mar 02 - 11:51 AM
CarolC 03 Mar 02 - 12:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Mar 02 - 12:12 PM
CarolC 03 Mar 02 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 03 Mar 02 - 01:57 PM
M.Ted 03 Mar 02 - 02:16 PM
Don Firth 03 Mar 02 - 02:38 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 03 Mar 02 - 03:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Mar 02 - 03:43 PM
sian, west wales 03 Mar 02 - 03:59 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 03 Mar 02 - 04:28 PM
Don Firth 03 Mar 02 - 05:03 PM
sian, west wales 03 Mar 02 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,coyote breath - a note of sorts 03 Mar 02 - 11:19 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 03 Mar 02 - 11:25 PM
Jerry Dingleman: The Boy Wonder(inactve) 04 Mar 02 - 09:51 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Mar 02 - 10:03 AM
sian, west wales 04 Mar 02 - 10:43 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Mar 02 - 11:57 AM
M.Ted 04 Mar 02 - 12:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Mar 02 - 12:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Mar 02 - 12:47 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Mar 02 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Lynn Koch 04 Mar 02 - 01:53 PM
sian, west wales 04 Mar 02 - 01:56 PM
M.Ted 04 Mar 02 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Lynn Koch 04 Mar 02 - 02:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Mar 02 - 02:53 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 04 Mar 02 - 04:35 PM
Desdemona 04 Mar 02 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,Lynn Koch 04 Mar 02 - 09:00 PM
musicmick 04 Mar 02 - 10:38 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 05 Mar 02 - 12:27 PM
greg stephens 05 Mar 02 - 12:43 PM
Willa 05 Mar 02 - 03:31 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 05 Mar 02 - 04:06 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:




Subject: What makes folk music American?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 09:52 AM

I've been having a lively conversation with my friend Sian in Wales, Ian B and a couple of other Mudcatters about what makes folk music American. I sent a CD of American Folk Music to some people, and the question was, why isn't there any Scandinavian music on there? My knee-jerk reaction was, because this isn't Scandinavia! It's Amurica! But the answer isn't nearly as simple as that. Having grown up in the upper Midwest where last names end in "ski," I can attest that there surely is Scandinavian/ American folk music. Turn on the radio in the morning and along with the Hog Reports, you'll hear a polka about life in Wisconsin. Tex-Mex music is certainly American, as is Cajun music... the obvious ones, along with blues and black gospel. But, what if a song passed into that sacred "aural tradition" that was written in the style of Irish music(heh,heh) or French music? (French is o.k., because we got all them French-Canadians up there, and the French gave us cajun.) This country is a melting pot, but the lumps never melted. Some of them are writing songs about American life. Just because they are writing in the style of their heritage from another country, does that mean it's not American? Sounds downright un-American to think that.

Anyway, I'm just wondering what you other Mudcatters think about this. And thank you, Sian, for making me think. I should do it more often..

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Alice
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 11:44 AM

A melting pot with lumps in it. Jerry, that is a great description.

Alice


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 11:51 AM

Now, the Ossian books aren't books of Irish folk songs. They're "Songs sung in Ireland" - many of which originated elsewhere. I suspect that what makes folk music American is if Americans take it to their hearts and sing /play it.

Kitty


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 12:00 PM

I'm guessing that if a type of folk (traditional) music arrived in the US as a recognisable entity, and it has retained whatever elements it had that made it so, it will still be called by whatever name it had when it got here.

Whereas, Tex-Mex and Cajun became recognisable entities, distinct from their predecessors, here in the US. So that's probably why they are considered "American".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 12:12 PM

Irish-Americans are Americans when they come to Ireland, and I am sure that goes for all the other transplants. (The English ones most of all perhaps, because they've generally gone completely native - when was the last time you heard anyone describe themselves as an English-American?)

I suspect that all it takes is a trip "home" and you'll all see yourself as playing American music, regardless of the tradition it comes from and carries on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 12:21 PM

I suspect that all it takes is a trip "home" and you'll all see yourself as playing American music, regardless of the tradition it comes from and carries on.

I would be curious to hear from someone who plays Scandinavian music and who has visited Scandinavia about whether or not they would agree with McGrath about that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 01:57 PM

can't help you on this...I am listening to the Scandinavian hour right now, as I have done since childhood...whatever Americans listen to and sing maybe...I imagine Wisconsin polkas eventually sound different than what you would find in Sweden... mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 02:16 PM

A lot of traditional music came to this country and was preserved in the ethnic communities here when it disappeared, or at least evolved into something else in the country of origin--Of course, these traditions assimilate bits of American stuff (Khmer band with an Stratocaster that I used to here occasionally when I lived in Philly) and some get assimilated into the American mainstream(like all those Russian folksongs, such as "Midnight in Moscow")--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 02:38 PM

Jerry, the flaw may be in the American Folk Music CD, if it purports to be a full sampling of American folk music. I can't say that I heard very much Scandinavian or Scandinavian derived folk music during the Great Folk Scare, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of it around.

The Pacific Northwest has a large population of Scandinavians, many of whom are descendants of immigrants who came here to work in fishing and lumbering. The northwest quadrant of Seattle (Ballard, a mix of business districts and residences—and the Nordic Heritage Museum—is one of the nicer areas of the city) is so infused with Swedish and Norwegian culture that some of the locals (including Scandinavians) often refer to it as "snoose junction." (Snoose=snuff, used by loggers and fishermen, allowing them to keep the tobacco habit going, minus the danger of setting something on fire).

Within the past half-century, one of the most successful dance groups in this area, with a huge number of participants, both Scandinavian and non-Scandinavian, grew out of the late Gordon Tracie's Scandia Folk Dance Classes. The classes and dances used to draw hundreds of people, sometimes two or three evenings a week. Most Scandinavian folk music activity, at least around here, seemed to center more on dance than on songs and ballads, but I'm sure they're here, too. Certainly a rich area of folk music that I failed to look into. In retrospect, a really dumb omission, considering the resources available, especially since my mother was full-blooded Swedish. She was born in Norway, Kansas, about five miles south of Scandia, Kansas, the youngest of ten children of Peter and Greta Peterson, who had immigrated to the United States from Dalarna, Sweden. Mom knew at least a few Swedish folk songs, none of which I learned (Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!). Sometimes one overlooks a great source just because it's right there at home and all too familiar!.

There are several areas in the U. S. with large populations of Scandinavians, same as Hispanic, Italian, German, Irish, you name it. American culture seems to consist of lumps. In some cases, the Old Country culture survives more tenaciously than it does in the Old Country. Gordon Tracie was once asked to assemble some of his best dance students to tour the Scandinavian countries and give exhibitions, because many of the dances they did were more "authentic." They had not been "diluted" as much as the same dances the way they're done now in Norway and Sweden.

Another aspect of Scandinavian folk music is that many of the Child ballads (and other folk songs) have roots in Scandinavian songs and ballads, and Scandinavian versions still exist.

How many non-Scandinavian Americans (of whatever national or ethnic background) have to participate in a Scandinavian folk activity before it can be regarded as not only Scandinavian, but American as well? Same question for all other categories.

Just a mess of rambling, "stream-of-consciousness" thoughts and questions.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 03:36 PM

I enjoyed your post, Don: There's a little village in Southern Wisconsin called New Glarus with a Swiss Settlers homestead museum and enough curliques on the eves to choke a cow. When I go home to visit, my wife and I always take my Mother up there for dinner. They have a dance floor in the restaurant we always go to, and a kind of cheesy (no pun intended) little gift shop full of cassettes of area polka bands. When I was growing up, there was a band called Louie Bashell and His Silk Umbrellas. At the time of the Beatles Invasion, they were still placing songs in the top ten in Milwaukee. You are right. Sometimes cultures survive longer when transplanted.

When I got married three and a half years ago, my wife and I wanted to do an African/Danish wedding. We had no trouble finding all sorts of African traditions that are still preserved in this country, like jumping the broom. I thought that I could find Danish wedding traditions by asking two women I knew, both of whom had been married in Denmark. From the way they described their weddings, they might as well have been married in Cleveland. Not only was the wedding ceremony and reception (and music) totally without any tradition, neither of the women could even find out what traditions there were from the past. We could have at least exchanged bites of a traditional Lefse...

Who knows, maybe everything will be McDonaldized someday. Let's hope not.

As for the CD, ironically, it was produced in Bulgaria! I don't believe that it was meant to be a definitive cross-section of American Folk Music. Much of it is the same as on Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. I teethed on Harry Smith's Anthology, and considered it as Amurican as possible. I look at it now, and there's The Cuckoo by Clarence Ashley... American because they took all the "doths" out of it. I still can sing half the songs on the collection... what about Butcher's Boy, The House Carpenter, Henry Lee?

I guess The United States could be a classic study of how music from other cultures becomes assimilated (or doesn't, depending.) We're just a new country so it's easy to see our roots.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 03:43 PM

...many of the dances they did were more "authentic." They had not been "diluted" as much as the same dances the way they're done now in Norway and Sweden. -

And that in itself, I'd suggest, is very American. Americans have a tendency to systematize and organise things. It's shown in the way that, when you are looking for a music tutor for some weird and wonderful instrument from round the world, the most detailed and extensive one produced will almost certainly be American.

That's not a criticism; it's handy having a cutue around where people take care of that kind of stuff.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 03:59 PM

Jerry coulda waited till I got rid of this stinkin' cold to start something which I have to THINK about ... but time and tide, etc etc.

One of my PM comments to Jerry was that the Welsh sing a number of songs which have been adopted from the USA - including a minstrel song which has long since disappeared state-side - and very few actually know that they aren't Welsh in origin. (Other examples are songs to the tunes of Oh Susannah, The Girl I left Behind Me, et al) So ... Welsh? As noted above - the 'folk' seem to think so.

It also occurs to me that there are at least a couple of Welsh hymns popular here which were actually written in the late 19th/early 20th centuries by Welsh Americans, in America ... but I'd never think of them as American hymns, largely because they never made it into the broader,non-Welsh American community. They are also quintessentially Welsh (of their period).

But from reading 'Song of the Dove' there seems to be an undeveloped mention of the roots of the tradition in the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvania ... and if you listen to the singing of the Fa-so-la tradition, and ignore the accents, you'd swear you were in a Welsh chapel. But I'd always think of the Fa-so-la trad. as American...

Somewhere else on the 'Cat someone has posted some Mormon folksongs. I'd love to hear more about those (particularly the tunes) as there was a major Welsh contingent in the early Mormon church - but I think we'd accept the Mormon folksongs as American.

I suppose I should also check out again that thread on English harmony singing - someone there wondered if the Welsh influenced the American tradition ... and I think there's a fair bit of truth in the idea.

I only know of two Welsh songs which seem to have become American: The Quaker's Wooing (Sandburg's American Songbag) and the Iron Horse. I guess no one would think of Deck the Halls as American, but it's certainly the first step towards it - Welsh tune, but American words.

I think Don is right re: whether or not the CD purports to be a full sampling. It doesn't so I'm just enjoying it for what it is. But I *would* like to see a CD of, perhaps, the American Songbag.

My sinuses are stuffed and my brain hurts. I'll check in tomorrow ... if I survive.

sian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 04:28 PM

Hi, Sian: Thanks for sharing with everyone what you had written to me. Sorry you're feeling so lousy. I don't know if time waits for no one, but it sure don't wait for me.

As I mentioned, the CD was produced in Bulgaria, and I didn't think it purported to be a definitive overview of American Folk Music. You know those Bulgarians! Fun-loving and Devil-may-care. Even the Anthology Of American Folk Music is not a definitive overview of American Folk Music. That's ever-evolving. When they put rap in there, we'll all cringe, but it came up from the "Folk," so it would be legitimately included. If it were music, that is..

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 05:03 PM

Granted, arbitrary categorizing and pigeon-holing does seem to be an American aberration e.g., the odd collection of stuff that one is liable to find in the "folk music" bin in the average record store. But not exclusively American, of course.

Actually, that statement about "authentic" and "diluted" folk dances came from some Swedish or Norwegian "minister of culture" or something like that: whoever it was who issued the invitation to Gordon Tracie and his group. They felt that at many festivals, dance performances and exhibits had been "prettied-up" for tourists and the authentic folk dances were being lost. At least that's the reason that was given to Gordy.

Complaining that the way contemporary Scandinavian dancers in Norway and Sweden dance is "diluted" fails to take the folk process into consideration. I'd always been under the impression that Scandinavians officially tended to take their folk traditions a bit more seriously than we on this side of the pond do, which may be a good thing, but at the same time, watchdogging "authenticity" can tend to stifle a folk tradition. The reason the American descendants of Scandinavian immigrants were considered more "authentic" was because "that's the way my grandmother taught it to me." Granted, the American dancers were, for the most part, dancing older versions. But does that make them more "authentic?"

Well, I think on many a thread we've debated the stuffin's out of that one without reaching any universally accepted conclusions.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 05:04 PM

Bulgaria? Well, that's interesting in itself. O would the power some gift he gi'e us, to see ourselves as other see us" as Burns put it. (OK - can't do the Scots dialect spellings tonight, but it's still appropriate.)

sian, off to take a pill ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: GUEST,coyote breath - a note of sorts
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 11:19 PM

Here in Missouri we have an old French colonial music tradition (which isn't cajun) and down in the hollers of the lower Missouri Ozarks one can find (or could as late as the 1970's) varients of songs and tunes that seem Appalachian in origin but aren't. Seek out the three record (vinyl) album "I'm Old but I'm Awfully Tough" just chock full of both Ozark and old French music. Like "Bear Creek Sally Goodin" If someone would like I can put that album on tape for them because I think it is out of print. It was produced here in New Haven back in the late 70's.

CB


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 11:25 PM

How can anyone expect any CD to cover the folk music variation in North America? I would guess that every race that came to America is still reflected in the music of some area. Some groups are very large, such as the Germans with their gesangvereins all over the country (I am most familiar with the ones in central Texas, where german colonists settled in mid-19th C, and where the tradition is still very strong). Then there are little groups, such as the Icelandic settlers. There is the large Ukrainian contingent, with their songs, dances, and recorded production very strong in Canada and the northern tier of States. Someone mentioned Tex-Mex, which is just one variant of many of Hispanic song in the States. I was rained in New Mexico, where the Hispanic music is quite different. Cajun, of course, is related to the very much alive music of the Acadian folk who stayed in Canada, and who produce a fairly large volume on record of their music. Although French in origin, it differs from that of Quebec, and from the new immigrants from France who came to western Canada in the last 150 years.
Someone mentioned the Mormons, who include all the western European races, many who came across the plains pushing handcarts, as well as by wagon, who learned English on the way, and joined with American-born Mormons from every part of the United States. Their origins are little represented in current Mormon song- my take on this could be wrong; I have not lived in Utah and my ideas of them come from Mormon groups in Canada and New Mexico. Ask InOBU about the Roma and other gypsy groups in New York, etc., and their music.
What makes folk music American? The fact that it is sung here by people who settled here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Jerry Dingleman: The Boy Wonder(inactve)
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 09:51 AM

The old "melting pot" model of America is obsolete. Rather, we are a "mixing pot multicultural" society with endless combinations of regional and ethnic shadings.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 10:03 AM

Dicho: You're absolutely right. It would take a boxed set of ten CDs to give a true overview of American folk music. I make the mistake of saying that I love African music. That's as specific as saying "I like food." Two years ago, my wife and I went to Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Ghana, in comparison to how large Africa is iw like Rhode Island in comparison to all of the United States. There are 52 different African dialects in Ghana, alone. I couldn't accurately say that I love the music of Ghana, because I've only heard a very small portion of it.

A few years ago, I performed at the North Country Folk Festival in the upper penninsula of Michigan. I was amazed at how many different folk traditions there are in such a sparsely populated area of the country. You'd expect Scandinavian music, but it was far, farm beyond that... mostly mid-European and Russian music, with full bands playing music from countries that don't even exist anymore. I didn't eat anything the whole weekend whose name didn't have at least 12 letters in it.

That said, I don't think that it's missleading to label a CD American folk Music, or English Folk Music. No one would be foolish enough to label a CD ALL the folk music there is in America.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 10:43 AM

But I'd still love to see that box set made! I have a 3-disk set of Canadian folk music which is great for long car journeys - lots to think about.

I wonder what people would include on an American set?

sian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 11:57 AM

Hi, Sian:

I think that I'd have at least a couple of CDs of songs that reflect life in America, sung or played in the traditional style of other countries. Sorcha Dorcha would definitely be on that list!

I'd make a distinction between songs from other countries that have not changed from their original tradition and those that have been assimilated into the folk culture enough to at least partially reflect life in America. If you don't do that, then you could do a legitimate album of songs that are sung and played in America, and include traditional Koto music, bouzouki music... There'd be no distinction there..

Whatever your pleasure.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 12:33 PM

In the country of origin,Folk cultures and traditions were local, not national, and often, not even regional--they were community based, often centering around a church, synagogue, or mosque, and they re-establish themselves that way here--Back in Philly, I occasionally played dance music for the community of Serbs and Romanians from Banat with an accordionist who had played a lot for communities in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburg--and he loved to talk about the differences in the music, dance and performance styles--there were even language differences between, say, Chicago Romanian and Cleveland Romanian--

One night, I played the first couple notes of a waltz tempo tune that we had played at a party a few days before--he kicked me, hard, and loudly started into another tune--I was a bit annoyed when I asked him about it at the end of the set--"That song is from Zagreb! If you had played it, they would have killed us!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 12:45 PM

All the listing of American music seem to have left out the Americans themselves, the people who were there first.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 12:47 PM

All the listing of American music seem to have left out the Americans themselves, the people who were there first.

For example: "What makes folk music American? The fact that it is sung here by people who settled here."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 12:52 PM

Good point, McGrath: If they could make a CD of American folk music back in fifteen hundred, it would be 100% Native American. With all the arguments about how long it takes for a song to become a folk song, I guess they would have released the first folk single somewhere around 1550. The first Best Of American Folk Songs would have come out around 1560 or 1570.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: GUEST,Lynn Koch
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 01:53 PM

Compounding the matter is songs that are derived from a variety of sources. Take the song "John of Dreams", for instance - It appears in the Ossian books as an Irish song, but the tune is staight out of Tchaikovsky's ^th Symphony. So is it Irish or Russian? Ultimately, does it really matter WHAT we call this stuff as long as it's performed by those of us who care about it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 01:56 PM

In actual fact, the Canadian CDs I mentioned to have First People songs on them. (Yea, Canada!) Actually, a whole CD could be done on the various First Nations ... it would be interesting to hear the differences.

sian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 01:57 PM

There is a very active native American traditional music and dance culture--lots of drumming and lots of dancing, didn't you watch the opening ceremony for Winter Olympics? Of course, there are many, many different tribes--and, not to put too fina a point on it, but they came here from Asia--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: GUEST,Lynn Koch
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 02:03 PM

Compounding the matter is songs that are derived from a variety of sources. Take the song "John of Dreams", for instance (admittedly not American, but bear with me) - It appears in the Ossian books as an Irish song, but the tune is staight out of Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony. So is it Irish or Russian? Ultimately, does it really matter WHAT we call this stuff as long as it's performed by those of us who care about it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 02:53 PM

Bill Caddick wrote John O'Dreams. And I'd say he counts as English.

.

There's no suggestion in the Ossian books, "Folksongs and Ballads Popular in Ireland"(which note him as the author) that this is an Irish song, except by the adoption process in which any good song is allowed to immigrate and get naturalised.

No more Irish than the Wild Rover or No Man's Land, and no less either.

And no less American either I'd be inclined to say.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 04:35 PM

I haven't seen the newer Canadian folk song set. I have the one from 1967 (Centenary of Confederation) that is exclusively French and English. It was disliked in western Canada where many people are of Ukrainian or native-European mixed blood (Metís).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Desdemona
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 08:40 PM

Are there folks in America? Have they been singing & playing & reinterpreting & rewriting & composing & performing traditional music amongst themselves & others for generations? Well, there you have it!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: GUEST,Lynn Koch
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 09:00 PM

Thanks for the correction, McGrath. I guess I shouldn't post without research materials handy to check my claims. Alas, I was at school, not at home. But...true. It makes it no less Irish.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: musicmick
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 10:38 PM

The United States, unlike the European nations who peopled it, is without a specific ethnicity. It is a nation that was populated by a multiplicity of cultures with a Tower of Babel olio of languages. Ergo, American folksongs and folklore are as scattered and diverse as the enormity of her geographic expanse. If we continue to identify ourselves as Irish-Americans, Italian- Americans, African-Americans, Swedes, Cajuns, Poles, Germans and whatever/whereever else, it is only sensible to identify our "borrowed" folksongs as Irish, Italian, Jewish, etc. There are, however, many songs and stories that are uniquely American. Cowboy songs, blues, bluegrass, ragtime, Tex-Mex,gospel,spirituals,Tin Pan Alley, country and western, honkytonk, I could go on and on. Grant unto Caesar, they say. So do I. An Irish folksong is Irish, whether it is sung in Cork, Sydney or Boston. Unless a song undergoes drastic change in a new setting, I'm all for calling it what it was and what it is.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 05 Mar 02 - 12:27 PM

musicmic: "Unless a song undergoes drastic change in a new setting, I'm all for calling it what it was and what it is." Me too. If the song is the same as it was when it was brought over here, then give it credit for where it came from. Some versions of songs like Wild Colonial Boy have become so Americanized, with names and locales switched to the Northwoods, that at least those versions have become "American" folk music to me. Kinda like Archie Bunker becoming a legend over here, although based on a character on British television. You wouldn't call Archie British. Not within striking distance..

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Mar 02 - 12:43 PM

A lot of images of folk music come from some concept of a settled cosy insular society with the smock-clad peasants refining and hoarding their fol-de-rols and fiddle tunes over slowly-turning centuries. A big thanks to America for its completely different history and the stunning, exhilarating, bewildering and beautiful folk music produced in mind-numbing variety over a very short period of time. Much as I love the music of my own dear British Isles( I won't be too specific because I've got a stake in most of it), I have to say my life would have been pretty boring without the pleasure I've had from American folk music. So for once I won't get involved in pedantic discussion on how to define it I'll just say I LOVE IT.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Willa
Date: 05 Mar 02 - 03:31 PM

Lynne Koch
and "Tchaikovsky's" tune is said to have been derived from an old lullaby, which after all is how the folk process works!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What makes folk music American?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 05 Mar 02 - 04:06 PM

I've always thought that there was a great deal of romanticism about folk music. Sung by the holy unwashed. Or perhaps wholely unwashed. I spent a summer on an iceberg in the Arctic Ocean in the sixties and got to know an eskimo about my age. He was pretty much indistinguishable from the greasers with their Lucky Strikes cigarette packs rolled up in the sleeve of their t-shirts, with their hair slicked back in a duck tail, lounging in front of the Coney Island Bar and Grill. My black friends in their seventies know bluegrass and early country music better than most whites. Every once in a while we'll joke around, talking "black," sho nuff! Occasionally, someone will ask me if they talk like someone out of an old Step n Fetchitt movie, with no intent to be dissrespectful. I think that you're right, Greg. It's interesting to hear a perspective from the other side. Ian B gives me that, too. There has to be a delicate balance between respecting tradition and not hog-tying yourself in the process. Respect can be very boring if not tempered with having a good time.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 January 11:37 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.