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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:54 pm
by Nigel w
:Life's-too-short-icon:


well stop it , then !

(phew, we made it to a new page so we don't have to look at the ghastly things any more).

fRoots virus?

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:11 pm
by Gordon Neill
Ian emoted:

ImageImage


I can only echo Nigel's relief that we've reached a new page and do not have to look at these distressing emoticons ever again.

Ted sed:

So do we think that the closer a singers voice is to his/her speaking voice the more authentic the emotions expressed? Sounds like a very dodgy proposition to me.


Well, imagine if Elmore James did 'It Hurts Me Too' in a Hampshire accent, or Aretha affected a Janet from Doctor Finlay's Casebook accent while doing 'I Never Loved A Man'. I, for one, wouldn't believe a word they sang.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:13 pm
by Nigel w
Gordon

despite myself, I lol 'ed (as I believe it is expressed) to see those much-loved subtle images again !

I think the Hampshire version of It Hurts Me Too is called It Pains Me A Little But Also and the Dr Finlay version of Aretha's song is I Never Loved A Wee Bonny Lad (with a hey and a ho, and a hey nonny-no). But you hail from the province so may be able to translate Janet's lyrics better than me.

You're a no good Mc-heart breaker
You're a Mc-liar and you're a Mc-cheat...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:31 pm
by Ted
While you lot are enjoying yourselves, I am listening to The Watersons.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:59 pm
by Nigel w
Ted,

Watersons? You've got it easy. In an act of self-flagelation which I'm hoping might purge my sorry soul I've just put on Seth Lakeman down here to see if it's as bad as I remembered. And it's worse....

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:03 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Ted wrote:

While you lot are enjoying yourselves, I am listening to The Watersons


Good for you. One of the few examples of English folk I really liked. Peel often gave them sessions in the 70s, others I recall him playing a lot were the High Level Ranters (named after the High Level Bridge in Newcastle, Northumbrian pipes) and the marvellous Oldham Tinkers.

But I also recall, coming from Liverpool, how essentially foreign traditional English folk sounded, the only taste you ever got of it in urban Merseyside was when Morris Dancers (from God knows where) turned up at the occasional garden fete. Our folk music was either Irish - a really big ceilidh scene - and the likes of the Dubliners and the Clancy Brothers were the big stars. Or it was that native Stan Kelly/Pete McGovern 'In My Liverpool Home' 'Liverpool Lullaby' stuff. (Cilla covered the latter). And being a pop/soul kid I hated both. Unfortunately the Merseybeat explosion didn't quite wipe it out.

Though I must confess to being a bit uncomfortable with the notion that a certain strand of pop writing constitutes true English folk. It messes too much with the categories. To a point I can accept the idea of Billy Bragg being a sort of folk singer, but could never quite grasp how Andy Kershaw for example used to speak of the Clash in the same terms.

Also we haven't even touched on the politics of the thing. There was clearly a political push behind promoting this as the 'real' people's music (Ewan McColl etc) And a counter argument that the 'really real' people's music was being made in the Cavern and other sweaty cellars and coming from Detroit and Memphis on the pirate airwaves. Which I suspect others here might go along with...

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:30 am
by MurkeyChris
Charlie wrote:So, now we have a CD's worth of great songs about England or being English, will somebody explain to me while these songs are not the real folk music of our time, rather than the backward looking ballads sung in peculiar voices that nobody uses in real life?


This strikes me as a very similar argument to, 'Why don't you listen to the proper pop music of other countries, rather than the homogenised pastiche music that is produced for white middle class world music fans in the West?’

To which the only reply is: ‘Because I like it and I think it’s good.’

I listen to traditional English music because, shock horror, I like it and I think it’s good. I find there are some amazing melodies from songs that have survived hundreds of years because they’re bloody good and some powerful themes that are just as relevant today as when the songs first appeared. I find the historical aspect fascinating, and the unusualness of the forms and the instrumentation really appeals to me. The dance tunes have got great rhythms and the different types of dance (Morris, rapper, Molly etc.) are a great spectacle. There are lots of truly incredible musicians playing trad English music that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise and this tradition has influenced lots of superb new songs and tunes.

Whether this is ‘the real folk music of our times’ is like asking if Bjork is real world music from Iceland. It depends on your definition. It’s just a name for a type of music! Anyone sane with as interest in ‘folk’ music is surely sick to death of the ‘what is folk’ arguments. I think of it in terms of traditional music as it is broadly understood, if you want to think of it as music that represents contemporary culture no one is going to arrest you for it!

But why choose one over the other? As it happens, that’s a really impressive list of English songs that people have come up with. As I like folk music am I exempt from liking them and thinking they also represent elements of English culture? Am I banned from Vaughan Williams too because I don’t call his work folk music? Will I really have to part with my Lady Sovereign album too (some people I know may be relieved)?

Okay, I’ll admit I find the whole ‘voice of the people’ thing a bit much (how I cringed when Mike Harding unexpectedly announced at the end of the Young Folk Awards that the bastards will never keep the music of the WORKING CLASS DOWN to an audience and stage full of comfortably middle class white people). But that’s largely in the past now, and you have to put it into the context of a country that was fast loosing a vast treasure trove of wonderful music, so a bit of inspiring hyperbole can be excused.

So if you don’t like English traditional music that’s no crime. But remember those of us who do like it feel the way you probably do about the great unwashed who won’t listen to world music because it’s forrin’ and weird and you can’t even tell what they’re singing about anyway. There’s so much great music out there, what is the point of excluding any of it just because it doesn’t fit your idea of what it ‘should’ be?

(The end. Sermon over.)

Chris

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:20 am
by Nigel w
Chris,

Well done. You argue cogently and rationally and I can't really disagree with any of the excellent points you make. And all done without any fat yellow round faces gurning at us, too!

I gave the folk awards a miss this year (although I've been just about every other year since they started and it's always a great night out) so I didn't hear Mike Harding's usual pearls. Did he really say that? Are you sure it wasn't one of his (never very funny) jokes? Absolutely unbelievable!

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:08 am
by Nick Boyes
As I see it ( sometimes ! )

English Folk Music V TSOTW

Bellowhead V Taraf de Haidouks

2 folky bands with brass good for weddings and pogo dancing, one has no old blokes in hats.

Kate Rusby V Souad Massi

2 young folk singers get popular so we are told to prefer their earlier stuff

Martin Carthy V Salif Keita

2 grumpy old blokes sound great in company of lively backing bands but will insist on picking up acoustic guitars and boring me

June Tabor V Mariza

2 folk singers with distinctive voices but a little goes a long way

Fairport Convention V sausages

I know deep down they are both rubbish but at certain times nothing else will do and both have been around as long as I can remember

And the winners are everyone because I have bought music by all of the above hopefully keeping them in this wide and wonderful place that music takes me to.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:24 am
by Rob Hall
I dunno. I'm still struggling with why the "English" part of it is important. If you remove the word "English" from Chris' post, then it makes a lot more sense to me. Who gives a toss where it comes from or for the nationality of the musicians involved? (And yes, I realise that I contributed a suggestion to Charlie's list of songs about England and the English, but that is hardly promoting the concept as a genre).

Apologies to Ted for thread creep.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:35 pm
by David Flower
someone's just been tellng me about the changes at Arts Council England, with various funding schemes being continued but homogenised and moved to a separate building. Part of the changes also involve an almost complete withdrawal of funding to all English folk on the grounds that is discriminatory and no longer in line with their policy of a multi-cultural Britain. This could have a serious knock-on effect. What do you think of that?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:18 am
by rongould
Well I've just discovered this forum, and this long thread that I've carefully read through.

Back to the original question, "where do I start?"

Start from where you are.

I still listen to my old L.Ps.

Charlie Wills,

Harry Cox

Fred Jordan

Joseph Taylor

The Ling Family

Sam Larner

Etc.

still thrill me as much as they did when I first heard them.

I once heard someone say that English folk music must be very popular because every time that he went into a big record shop they were sold out.

Don't worry about labels, just listen to what you like and if you want to expand your horizons listen to what your friends like.

By the way Ewan McColl never put his finger in his ear. If you look at the picture you will see that his hand is cupping his ear. A technique used by many a capella singers. It's to do with the transmission of sound. We hear everyone else through the air, and ourselves through our bones. So by cupping a hand over the ear you can capture some of the "air" sound, it is a great help with pitching.

In my new, occasional, group "The Loftus Road Sheiks" we perform everything from, blues, bluegrass, ragtime, music hall old timey and unaccompanied English folk songs. No one in the audience seems to mind.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:44 pm
by MurkeyChris
nigel w wrote:Well done. You argue cogently and rationally and I can't really disagree with any of the excellent points you make. And all done without any fat yellow round faces gurning at us, too!


Aw thanks. Now where's that blushing with embarrassment emoticon? And now the winking one to show the last was a joke? Oh dear.

nigel w wrote:I gave the folk awards a miss this year (although I've been just about every other year since they started and it's always a great night out) so I didn't hear Mike Harding's usual pearls. Did he really say that? Are you sure it wasn't one of his (never very funny) jokes? Absolutely unbelievable!


It was the Young Folk Awards (any tips of how to get tickets for the 'Old' Folk Awards?), and although I'm paraphrasing he did say something impassioned along those lines. It was right at the end of the evening and it just seemed to burst out of him unbidden.

Rob Hall wrote:I dunno. I'm still struggling with why the "English" part of it is important. If you remove the word "English" from Chris' post, then it makes a lot more sense to me.


Well it's not important, in that the same argument can apply to any type of music. I'm just talking about English traditional music because a) it's the subject of this thread, b) I was responding to Charlie's point on why 'great songs about England or being English [...] are not the real folk music of our time' and c) because I often prefer English folk music to any other kind. This latter point is perhaps very slightly because intellectually I feel I should know about my own culture, but overwhelmingly because for whatever magical reason music moves us, English trad music tends to effect me more than lots of other musics.

Rob Hall wrote:Who gives a toss where it comes from or for the nationality of the musicians involved?


Now this I find this an odd comment in a (largely) world music forum. Does Youssou N'Dour (who was excellent last night at the Dome btw) being from Senegal not profoundly effect his music? Wouldn't Ojos de Brujo sound a lot different if they were from somewhere other than Spain? Does Asian Dub Foundation's combined Asian hertiage and Englishness not feed into their work?

Obviously I'm not saying that English music is better or more important than music from elsewhere - except to say that personally I find it rewarding to know about my country's musical culture in the same way that I like to know the geography and history of the place I live in. Just that when music is based in a specific culture it helps to know what that culture is.

Nick Boyes wrote:Kate Rusby V Souad Massi

2 young folk singers get popular so we are told to prefer their earlier stuff


He he, great post Nick. I am afraid I'm one of the fans of Kate Rusby's early stuff, I have really tried and genuinely think the old albums are better! In her recent stuff she just sounds a little bit insipid, there was real verve and passion before. Mind you, word is her new album is a bit of a return to form, I've not heard it yet.

David Flower wrote:changes at Arts Council England [...] involve an almost complete withdrawal of funding to all English folk on the grounds that is discriminatory and no longer in line with their policy of a multi-cultural Britain. This could have a serious knock-on effect. What do you think of that?


If it's true it's awful. It reminds me of my University Students' Union trying (and failing) to ban Christmas because it might offend non-Christians. I tried and failed to explain that multiculturalism involves celebrating all cultures, not repressing them all. In the end I transformed my little CD shop (which we rented and therefore had free will over) into a Christmas Grotto and played (carefully selected) Christmas music all day! I smuggled regular supplies of tinsel to the other staff who all one-by-one revolted against the idiocy and soon the place was a glittering delight!

Chris

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:34 pm
by David Flower
last nght before midnight tolled I tried to edit out (but couldn't) yesterday's April Fool which fell completely flat, not provoking a single outraged comment as planned! Will work on something perhaps more amusing for next year....

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:51 pm
by Rob Hall
MurkeyChris wrote:
Rob Hall wrote:I dunno. I'm still struggling with why the "English" part of it is important. If you remove the word "English" from Chris' post, then it makes a lot more sense to me.


Well it's not important, in that the same argument can apply to any type of music. I'm just talking about English traditional music because a) it's the subject of this thread, b) I was responding to Charlie's point on why 'great songs about England or being English [...] are not the real folk music of our time' and c) because I often prefer English folk music to any other kind. This latter point is perhaps very slightly because intellectually I feel I should know about my own culture, but overwhelmingly because for whatever magical reason music moves us, English trad music tends to effect me more than lots of other musics.

Rob Hall wrote:Who gives a toss where it comes from or for the nationality of the musicians involved?


Now this I find this an odd comment in a (largely) world music forum. Does Youssou N'Dour (who was excellent last night at the Dome btw) being from Senegal not profoundly effect his music? Wouldn't Ojos de Brujo sound a lot different if they were from somewhere other than Spain? Does Asian Dub Foundation's combined Asian hertiage and Englishness not feed into their work?

Obviously I'm not saying that English music is better or more important than music from elsewhere - except to say that personally I find it rewarding to know about my country's musical culture in the same way that I like to know the geography and history of the place I live in. Just that when music is based in a specific culture it helps to know what that culture is.


Well, I find it odd that you find my comment odd, but that is neither here nor there. Obviously, the music produced by each of the artists that you mention is informed by their personal experiences, and those personal experiences include the cultural influences to which they were subject; and yes, of course they would sound different if they were from somewhere else. That’s not my point. To me as a listener, my enjoyment of Youssou N’Dour, Ojos de Brujos, etc., would be no more nor any less than if they were from somewhere else. I like to think that I take the music at face value, and I either like it or I don’t, without reference to where it is coming from. I have no particular interest in the music of Senegal, or Mali, or Spain, or Uzbekistan for that matter, yet I own music by people who originate from all of these places. The simple fact is that I heard it and it appealed to me.

The same goes for folk. I like some of the music that falls into the category of “what is commonly held to be folk music (traditional or otherwise) originating from the British Islesâ€