What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Picked up from another thread. We didn’t include that in the discussion about tired old discussions.
Your displays of wit and wisdom are invited….

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

What’s all this f’n about?

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

"Go folk yourself, folk your mother you folking mother folker. I hope your folking legs fall off and you choke on your big folking toe!"

C’mon that’s just not right!?

Regards,

Harry.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

You must be on about some other folking mother folker, as me toes ain’t big or folked…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Well, that blows the hell out of any hope for wit or wisdom, talking about toes, and your man making fun of my missing legs… That’s just folking cruel…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

I still tink it’s folking queer that your man has to always sign everything he types in here ~

Regards,

Harry. ~ and what the folks with the period anyway? 😏

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ folk ~ Whew! That’s definitely overkill… I’ll be hung drawn and quartered if the folkin’ hollies ever catch me… 😲

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Damn, I should have capitalized that ~ Folkin’ Hollies!

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Is it one folkin’ l in Holies or is it two folkin’ ls?

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Who gives a folk?

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

F**k music

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Folk in A

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

i think you should all shut the folk up

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

im kidding, btw

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

We should make up some kind of tongue twister …

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

I do apologise for attempting to give a serious answer here …

The trouble with the word ‘folk’ is that it has been debased. In the dim and distant past, it used to mean something - that can be seen in words and phrases like ‘folk memory’, ‘folk customs’, ‘folklore’ and yes, even ‘folk music’.

But, as far as music goes, the word was adopted by a sizeable part of the pop world in the 1960s, and now it could mean anything.

So, what word can we use now? ‘Traditional’ doesn’t mean the same, and folk just doesn’t have the connoations it used to - in fact, more often than not the term ‘folk music’ conjures up an image/sound of awful guitarist/singer/songwriters droning out their pitiful, interminable and painfully slow dirges whilst still (to this day!) wearing awful floral print dresses that should have been chucked on the skip at the end of 1967.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

When I ripped a David Gray CD (for my wife you understand), MS media player listed the genre as Alternative Folk

What the folk is Alternative Folk !!!!

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

I always thought that the change from Folk Roots to "Froots" was an attempt to shake something off…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Ceolachan,

Do you presume that every folking message I post here is directed at folking you? Did you not see the folking quote marks on my folking ‘folk’ post? Are you folking paranoid or something (… if you are then have you considered that maybe everybody actually DOES folking hate you? By way of a cure, I mean) Folk me, I just don’t know… folking folkies.

Folking regards, keep thinking folking queer, it suits you,

Harry.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

My son bills his band as "anti-folk". Don’t ask me what it means - I can’t get a sensible answer from him. They have guitar, bass & drums and sing sort of indy/punky songs as far as I can work out.

In the pop/rock world, "folk" seems to mean anything with acoustic guitars and recognisable songs. It’s a "genre" apparently.

Does it matter?

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

I don’t know about other sessioneers’ experience, but when a folkie, ie yer typical Aran-jumpered bearded beer bellied sad git with skin as thick as a rhinoceros, plonks himself plus guitar plus camp follower with shaky egg, down at yer sesh and proceeds to give it laldy on Wild Mountain Thyme, the atmosphere at the sesh just simply evaporates. It’s different if it is someone who is already *part* of the session, who maybe asked to do a song. But the prevalence of these dinosaurs are what gives "Folk Music" a bad name amongst sessioneers. But maybe that’s just a SE London and North Kent phenomenon, or more likely just me being both intolerant and arrogant.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Putting Ben and Danny’s posts together we can build an image of what the word folk conjures up:
*Aran-jumpered bearded beer bellied sad gits with skin as thick as a rhinoceros* *droning out their pitiful, interminable and painfully slow dirges whilst …wearing awful floral print dresses*

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

"yer typical Aran-jumpered bearded beer bellied sad git with skin as thick as a rhinoceros, plonks himself …."

Well, the Aran knitted sweater isn’t that common but there’s many good traditional musicians who also fit that description. So, it’s not really fair to generalise that way.

Also, you’ll get many young, trendy looking people with guitars, shakey eggs, newly purchased bodhrans who’ll also plonk themselves down at your session and "give it laldy on Wild Mountain Thyme". They’re just as obnoxious and, at least, the "old gits" might give you a dram out of their pewter tankard. 🙂

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

KML -
I would say that your entry was neither intolerant nor arrogant — it sounded like yet another desperate cry in the wilderness for a bit of common courtesy and common sense. Good for you!

[Although you did paint quite a stereotype image of a typical pain-in-the-neck at a session. Not picking on Aran sweaters were you? 🙂]

Also: Apologies for my use above of the word "common" —
Courtesy and sense can be rather un-common these days 😉

Cheers,

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Of course, I know what Danny means but it’s still a generalisation. Unfortunately, the media and press also perpetuate this stereotype. You’ll hardly ever read a review or preview of a folk or trad music event without one of these descriptions being mentioned. Other terms might include "real ale", "pipe smoking", "pewter tankard", "Guardian reader", "waistcoats", "brown sandals", "ageing hippies" and so on……

Now, I believe "folk music" in it’s truest sense to mean traditional music and song. However, I agree that it can mean absolutely anything these days which is a shame.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

I think I prefer ‘folk’ to ‘trad’ (note no stop after ‘trad’):

Rather a word than a non-word.

Regards,

H.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

you mean you don’t like "trad" as a word rather than "trad." as an abbreviation, or you just don’t like either of them?

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Bren a ecrit:
Putting Ben and Danny’s posts together we can build an image of what the word folk conjures up:
*Aran-jumpered bearded beer bellied sad gits with skin as thick as a rhinoceros* *droning out their pitiful, interminable and painfully slow dirges whilst …wearing awful floral print dresses*"

God, I thought it was me until I got to the end. Thank heavens I only wear candy-stripe dresses.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

I don’t mind ‘traditional’ or ‘folk’, but ‘trad’ sounds sloppy, and ‘media sound-bitey’. Although, its in dictionaries now as a word of its own e.g.:

WordNet - Cite This Source

trad:
(noun)
traditional jazz as revived in the 1950s

… that’s the way the river of language flows I suppose. So why are all these Irish folk musicians talking about 50s Jazz????

Regards,

Harry.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

What’s wrong with saying "ITM" ? 🙂

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Guys - the Aran jumper "stereotype" as you call it is drawn from real experience. There are a few of these guys roaming around and stalking sessions in these parts. They do their best to look like lobster fishermen from Connemara but in reality they are minor civil servants and live in the tame semi detached suburbia that is Sidcup and Eltham, and other nondescript made-up places. And maybe they don’t wear Laura Ashley dresses but I suspect they rouge up their cheek to give the impression of being hardy outdoor types.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

CheekS, that is, the ones on yer face.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

But the impression which is given to the general public by the media(unfortunately) is that these types and "real folk and traditional musicians" are actually just "Two CheekS of the same erse". 🙂

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Don’t wear a waistcoat with an Aran sweater, that’s definitely overkill…..
"Alternative Folk", "Twisted Folk", etc; it’s people with funny instruments playing their own songs. Now, the Incredible String Band were doing this in the ‘60’s, and some of their stuff was good, and some I could take or leave. These modern guys I can’t be bothered with- am I getting too old ?

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

….not that I’d want to put any of ye’s off coming to our session(s). (Assuming ye’r not one of the Aran sweater-uniform brigade. We still have a good time despite these occasional incursions. In fact they are much less common nowadays due to our subtle combination vigilance and verbal abuse.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

It’s funny…
One has always imagined the members of this forum who are known to fiercely protect the traditional values of ITM and so forth, sporting 19 century poor peoples’ clothes, leather jerkins, beards (of course), pipes, sandals (?!) and eating peasant food in a rustic squalid croft. Either like a scene from Brigadoon or Finian’s Rainbow.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

I see nothing wrong with referring to Irish traditional music and song as "Irish folk music" / "Irish folk song"; ditto for English, Scottish and all the rest. The ongoing arguments about definitions, limits, the oral tradition and all the rest of it would be the same on the subject of "Irish folk music" as on the subject of "Irish traditional music".

After all, Breandan Breathnach wrote a book called "Folk Music And Dances Of Ireland", and he of all people knew his stuff.

The words "folk music" do conjure up some awful stereotypes, for sure; but these are sometimes diametrically opposed to one another. This reflects the fact that "folk" has become a vast and muddy tide containing musics of kinds so different that wherever you’re coming from, you’re bound to encounter something that gets right up your nose.

But sometimes someone gets hold of what he likes in all this, and makes good sense of it. I’ll give an example.

I went not long ago to a (mainly) guitarists’ session on the fringes of Durham - a fun session, mainly pop etc. An elderly man got up, and sung, unaccompanied and extremely well, a powerful song in the manner of Ewan MacColl, with his hand over his ear. The fact I’ve forgotten what the song was called, or any of its words, doesn’t mean I wasn’t impressed at the time! Was it a Ewan MacColl song?, I asked him. No; it was a Bob Dylan song.

Ewan MacColl, who helped start the British folk revival in the 50s, detested Bob Dylan and all he seemed to represent. MacColl wanted the folk revival to be an arm of left-wing militancy; the appearance of Dylan - guitar, songs about relationships, resolute political agnosticism or indifference (despite the protest songs) - maddened him: Dylan was seen as quintessentially bourgeois. He was also going to put MacColl completely in the shade in terms of fame and influence.

But to sentimentalise a little, both men would have been proud to hear that bit of singing, Dylan’s words and music, MacColl’s style.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

The word "folk" is most often applied to traditional music out of ignorance.

I grew up playing classical violin (switched to ITM around the age of 20), and we classical musicians used to use the word "folk" to apply equally to nearly everything that wasn’t jazz or popular. In short, if it involved a "fiddle", it was "folk music". We didn’t particularly care that the people who actually played it preferred to call it "bluegrass" or "old-time" or "traditional" music. To us it was quaint, often scratchy and out of tune, and easier to call it all "folk". Sure, Bob Dylan, Ewan MacColl, and all those aspiring singer-songwriters at the open mic nights would be referred to as "folk musicians" too, but that didn’t really bother us. "Folk" was a big bucket into which we threw everything that we didn’t feel like bothering to understand any further.

After playing ITM pretty much exclusively for nearly 15 years now, I met a classical violinist who mentioned that he had dabbled in "folk fiddle" by going to Irish sessions when he was in grad school, and it made me wince. No insult was meant by it, but it betrayed a lack of any effort on his part to actually understand the traditional music he was playing; no traditional musician I have ever met would ever call it "folk fiddle". Calling it "folk" most often betrays ignorance of traditional music.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

yhaalhouse:

"It’s funny…
One has always imagined the members of this forum who are known to fiercely protect the traditional values of ITM and so forth, sporting 19 century poor peoples’ clothes, leather jerkins, beards (of course), pipes, sandals (?!) and eating peasant food in a rustic squalid croft. Either like a scene from Brigadoon or Finian’s Rainbow."

Sometimes this is the case - his name is Jack! 😀

Seriously though I admit to owning a knitted Aran sweater. It is cream as well. I don’t wear it often because it isn’t half hot in there but it is still a comfy jumper! I wonder if we did a poll how many of the members here we would find also owned one of these sweaters. I am sure it would be a high number - even if they are not worn!

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

It looks like they’re singing but in fact they’re pechhin’ for braeth, cos a the haet.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

I don’t have an Aran jumper and hold nothing against anyone who does. They’re good claes for winter.
But I’m mildly amused when some people feel they have to subscribe to some stereotype, even in their clothing, when they come to play or sing music. Why do they feel they have to? OK, and I know hippies will be hippies, punks will be punks, emos will be emos, even, and so on. Do you still see trad players going around like the Bothy Band 1975? Maybe you do, but I haven’t seen them.
Oh and before I forget, yharsehole, seems like you’re the one with the prejudices if that’s what you think we aspire to.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Try fully pronouncing a hearty "FOLK" with a mouth full of yogurt… just another thing that’s wrong with saying ‘folk’.

Regards,

Harry.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

"Calling it "folk" most often betrays ignorance of traditional music"

As I indicated above, I used to think the term ‘folk’ was a good one … until the word became debased with all yer pseudo-poppy, flapjack wearing, aran-eating, sandal-beating, chain yersel’-to-Greenham-Common-fence leftie b*ll*cks a&"?!*** !?£ …

All right mother. I’ll take my pill now.

🙁

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Both the words "traditional" and "folk" seem to take on different meanings depending on where you go.
In the strict world of the fiddle and accordion scene, only the music and styles ..often the NE Scottish way of playing..which they accept are referred to as traditional. Everything else including Irish, Cape Breton, West Highland and free less rigid styles are *dismissed* as folk.
Howver, I’d argue that the latter is actually more traditional in that it is that which is "passed down" and exchanged between peers. Not that which is learned "off the dots" and played in a prescribed way..eg all the bowing, ornaments in exactly the "right" place.

Also, another term which has now become very vague is "contemporary folk music". It used to refer to singer song writers, innovative guitar based stuff eg Graham, Jansch etc. Nowadays, it is often used to describe the younger bands and players who are actually still playing(in the main) traditional music! Albeit in a more innovative and energetic fashion than before..for better or worse.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Ah the East Coast "Accordian and Fiddle" scene! That is not really traditional in the way that most folk here would think of it. I agree with you on that John. It is very classical, in that everything has to be played a certain way. The bagpipe tradition can be the same, particularly for competitions. This is probably where Scottish music gets its reputation for being too classical sounding with some of the members here and in Ireland in general. This is unfortunately a misconception on the scale of the Aran jumper one.

My uncle is an accordian player (and a very good one) and he fits exactly the discription of someone who dismisses "folk" music. There is the "Scottish music" on the one side - dance band, etc and the broader accordian music (continental and so forth and on the other side there is the "folk" music. There is a definate feeling amongst some in that scene that one definately requires a lot more skill than the other.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

In the USA, the word folk does have connotations of yogurt-eating, sandal-wearing, Volvo-driving, Democrat-voting, leftward-leaning people (I could go on, but you get the point). Many people also tend to think of folk music as primarily a vocal thing, in a singer-songwriter vein. Where the word traditional is more used to describe the "play instrumental music in pubs while consuming alcohol" crowd. Plus, there is a Folk music section at the record stores, where most trad music is found in bins labelled "International" or "Celtic." And at the summer festivals, you probably wouldn’t see many trad bands playing at the folk festivals, they play at "Celtic" festivals. There is some overlap of these two worlds, but at least the way the words are used around here, they are two different worlds.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Every time a moderately useful term achives coinage, it gets co-opted by the Music Industry as a marketing tool and a backlash against the term soon develops among the practitioners.

I’m still trying to understand some of the pop/rock categories:

New wave, punk, alternative (to what?!), indie-rock, indie-pop, thrash, filk, Lutheran death gospel …

Actually, I sort of understand the first two. The last one, I made up to see if anybody’s paying attention. Or maybe I heard it somewhere…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

"We didn’t particularly care that the people who actually played it preferred to call it "bluegrass" or "old-time" or "traditional" music."

But if you need to use an umbrella term, then surely the word folk is the applicable one…?

Just like people use the umbrella term "classical" to describe all orchestral and solo and chamber music, when there are sub groups - Baroque, Classical (1730-1820) Romantic, Nationalist etc…

And pop could be spilt into Soul, Rock, RnB…

And Blues music contains :louisiana, texan, Delta…

And Metal…

Need i go on? There are people who play or are fans of each who would complain about the umbrella terms, but you need a general term.

And yeah Im the fool who caused this furore this time round in the other thread.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Hey, dont you be mocking lutheran death gospel!!

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Well, it’s certainly the column headed "Folk" or "Folk/Roots" that one looks at in an English newspaper or what’s-on magazine to see if some trad caravanserai is wending its way to one’s town…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Folk clubs in England in the seventies and eighties were absolutely brilliant, and there were thousands of them.

Without drawing on historical fact or anything like that, folk music was taken by and large to be songs, songs from the people about the people, love, war, work etc. In the sixties, the Dubliners were a folk group, singing folk songs and playing a few tunes, which was also the music of the people. Hence a folk group.

In that regard our Sunday night could be called a folk session, songs and tunes.

The Chieftains however were always a traditional group, no songs. When Kevin Coneff was recruited, for his vocal talent, they added a few "Traditional" songs, rather than folk songs. I doubt if there is a classified definition of a "Trad" song and a "Folk" song, you just need to be about the Irish music scene to know the difference.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Damn, I’m totally folked ~ Aran-jumpered, bearded, ale loving ~ hey, no, I’m saved, nothing else applies… Uh oh, the flat cap… 🙁 But I’m bald! Me flat cap is like a toupe… Harry has even condemned me to the limbo of ‘folkie’, but not just ‘folkie’, a ‘folkin’ folkie’… I’m mortified. And he hasn’t even graced that with his hallmark "Regards". I am damned. He thinks I’m paranoid and a queer thinker, hmmm? Are you getting serious in your old age? No, I’m not paranoid. What was that? I am not! Leave me alone. I’m n-o-t NOT!!! No, I won’t write that, Harry’s me mate. 😎 Damn voices, go away and stop trying to get me to write rude things…

At least I’m not a singer-songwriter, so there may still be hope… Let me get out me pipe and shakey egg and angle my head to one side and cup my hand to the ear with the tinnitis, which is pulling off a good drone in D right now. Let’s see, I know a great old song everybody loves. Come on all, there’s even a chorus we can all sing together, arms around, huddle together for a big community hug ~

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,
With a pink hotel, a boutique,
And a swinging hot spot.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum.
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half just to see ‘em.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

~ ~ ~

Uh oh, I’m a leftie… It’s so bad I even write and drink with my left hand… I’m folked for sure… Woe is me…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Ben, Ben, Ben, such a serious lad at such a delicate young age… 😉
Well said by the way and more to the point and direct than I was…

In case you missed my seriousness ~ hint, hint ~ Hollies & Holies ~ 😎

Damn Key, you mean I’ll never be able to wear an Aran sweater again or sing "Quare Bungle Rye". Can’t I at least wear the sweater? I really was a lobster fisherman…

GP, do you wear the waistcoat under of over the Aran sweater? I’ve gotta give that a go, just to irritate…and socks with sandals…

Key, what kind of vigilantyism do you practice against the Aran Army?

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

If the word is to be used it needs to be given context, definition, modification, which usually means more than just a few sentences nowadays… So what’s wrong with it serving more than one meaning? Is this some shade of that tendency we all sometimes fall into, wanting something ‘pure’?

And then we’re back around to that bit of not being able to please everyone… And with that in mind, the need for variety because we live in a varied world, what’s wrong with ‘folk clubs’, for those that value them and find solace and a social milieau that fits their spirit and mood? I suspect even there, no two are alike. I know in Eire, the few I attended, no two were alike, but no two nights were the same either…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

I can only remember one good "folk club" in Ireland, Dick Loobey’s in Downpatrick. Plenty of folk nights. I have played in a number of folk groups, as distinct from traditional groups.

Planxty were a folk group, the Bothies a trad group. Spot the difference.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Go on any of the traditional musician’s Myspaces and you will see the word "folk" at the top for genre, probably with a few others but there you go.

Personally I have no problem with the word "folk", none at all! In fact I am willing to say it here in this meeting:

"My name is Alistair and I…. I…. I’m a folkie! I AM A FOLKIE!!"

There I feel a lot better already 😀

"Folk music" is a catch-all term like "pop" or "jazz" or "classical" but that is fine. You get good folk music and bad folk music. You get modern folk music and traditional folk music. It does not all have to be the "pop music of the 17th century" as the reverend ably descrbed traditional music in the video from the other thread. It is a catch all. Great.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

My son hates it when I wear socks with my sandals, so sometimes I do it just to mess with him…ah, the freedom that comes with age, and no longer caring what people think of you!!!

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

That’s not caring, that’s caring enough to use it to wind someone else up. I’d love to get a bunch of us together, find Aran sweaters, shaky eggs, work up some 4-part harmonies, maybe something rude, and show up at one of Key’s old haunts. What a hoot that would be… We’d need at least 4 of us…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

"But if you need to use an umbrella term, then surely the word folk is the applicable one…?"

meh.

I think "traditional" (or simply "trad") is a much better umbrella term. I think that even the bland "Celtic" is more acceptable than "folk", even though it often covers all sorts of pseudo-neo-pagan tripe as well.


"There are people who play or are fans of each who would complain about the umbrella terms, but you need a general term"

Why do you need that general term?

Besides, hanging out in a blues bar, listening to a blues band, and surrounded by blues fans is not the place to use the general term "folk" to describe what you are hearing. If you really want to refer to Irish Trad, Bluegrass, Romanian Gypsy music, Blues, Gospel, Argentine tango, Joan Baez, and Christine Lavin with the same general term, then perhaps I’ll concede that "folk" is a reasonable one. Still, I’d even prefer the term "World Music", since "folk" seems increasingly to connote the singer-songwriter genre more often than the traditional genre.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Is no one brave enough to drag ‘ethnic’ into the fray?

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Oh, all right —

"FR-ETHNIC-AY"

It doesn’t work.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

The chap who wants to play/sing what he’s actually grown up with;
The chap who wants to annex a tradition so as to find an identity;
The sociopathic singer-songwriter;
The sardonic taboo-breaker;
The idealistic singer who wants to reach out across divides and boundaries;
The person who sings to promote a political cause he/she really believes in -

All these and many more can, I assume, be found in any one "ethnos", race or nation that exists.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Ye’d be welcome any time C. Make sure it’s the middle of August when you turn up if you wear yer Aran jumper.
This stereotype which I portrayed is exactly that - a stereotype. If anyone here is actually offended by my daft wee portrayal - they need to look at themselves and my description and take note that they don’t fulfill one of the essential criteria I mentioned - skin as thick as a rhinoceros. So there.
But come on guys, let’s just accept it, what is meant by "folk" or "folkie" on this side of the Atlantic anyway, is, as has been pointed out, the performers and adherents of folk clubs, usually singer plus guitar. There was a thread on Mudcat a while back lamenting the demise of folk clubs - but I couldn’t find it - anyway, some of the people over there have a very strange concept of what is meant by a session. They seem to think it means singaround or open mike. They said this was responsible for the death of folk clubs! Ummm…OK, right.

It has been intimated in this, and other threads, that we play ancient historical, or museum music. Because we refer to it as "Traditional". My bet is this. If you were able to do some kind of survey and count the number of people playing and/or dancing to, our form of jigs reels h/pipes etc., NOW, worldwide, and compare that to how many people were doing the same two centuries ago, ie, in 1807, I suspect there would be more NOWADAYS. Why? Cos there are more people in the world. And there are shedloads of people in USA, Canada, Australia NZ, and also of course shedloads more in UK, who actually are Irish/Scottish or have some kind of Irish/Scottish heritage which pay tribute to. I suspect the only country with less people now compared to then would be Ireland. So rather than being music of the past we play a music form of an ongoing tradition spanning several hundred years, unlike the ephemeral offerings from the music industry. That music industry also distributes so-called folk as well as folk-rock and rock. Anyway so bollox to them.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

…And of course I forgot to mention all the other European countries with players of The Music, then there’s South Africa, Israel, Japan, Argentina, Korea…and so on. So. Is having a number of sessionistas in your country now an index of…Westernisation? Modernity? What a paradox.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

And what about all the subcategories, like those crazy Ukranians that play Irish music?

Thanks for the invite Key. I only represent one very small sub group of the Aran race, the Aran wearing lobster fishing folk… We have a special dispensation for managing to survive the bait… Phew!!! We’re allowed to sing "I’s the Bye" at certain annual social functions in and around St. Johns, Newfoundland… We’re also allowed to trap puffins for food… 😎

Oh yeah, and to play jigs, reels and hornpipes on mbira…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

What’s this about the "Aran" race. Six foots teutonic blonds with short hair? What has this got to do with folk music? Unless we are getting into the realm of men in leiderhosen(?) with piano accordians?

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

"I think "traditional" (or simply "trad") is a much better umbrella term. I think that even the bland "Celtic" is more acceptable than "folk", even though it often covers all sorts of pseudo-neo-pagan tripe as well. "

celtic wouldnt cover the stereotypical singer songwriters and their mining disasters, and i dont think traditional is that good a description for performers who play modern compositions influenced by the traditional (seth lakeman kind/or even joni mitchell), yet you wouldnt call them outright pop or any other umbrella

"Why do you need that general term?"

because otherwise youd be there till next tuesday talking about jump jazz, bluegrass, new wave, grindcore, rockabilly, breakbeat, trip-hop, dub…

the "Aran" race… haha… i like it.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

"Why do you need that general term?"
agree with the rhetoric.
Joni Mitchell and the Shaskeen Ceili Band are as alike as chalk and cheese.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

So, to summarize the discussion so far, we’re still just dancing about architecture and there’s really no hope of ever having a sensible terminology for musical styles. Is that about right?

Nevertheless, can somebody please explain to me what “alternative rock” is?

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Back in the old days when Folk was a marketable label, The good ole record company boys would call anything folk to get a sale.

One of the best ‘folk records’ I have is this one:
http://store.acousticsounds.com/images/as201JPG/Dad-1020.jpg

Very little that sounds Irish in there though

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Nah Key, Joni is like Velveeta and Shaskeen is like Kerrygold Cheese Spread…

Bob, alternative rock is what you purchase in Salford as opposed to Blackpool rock.

In search of meaning and categories ~ this is off the cuff and in no way represents any real authority or qualification ~ 😎

‘Music’ ~ one of endless examples ~ Kerry lineage playing Kerry music with and for Kerry folk, family and friends in Kerry, and innocent bystanders…or…just plain music enjoyed by plain folk…

‘Ethnic’ ~ re-enactment for others, a species of ‘creative anachronism’, perfect fodder for tourists wherever they might originate from, another variation on B-movie costume and fantasy dramas, cute costumes, flash, exhibitionist, delusional…

‘Celtic’ ~ completely delusional…

‘Traditional’ ~ Generic Irish by Generic Irish

‘Quasi-traditional’ ~ Generic Irish by quasi-Irish, and classical and early music musicians, generally removed by generations, geography and lack of understanding of the previously mentioned…

‘Trad’ ~ Fad, derivitive of ‘Traditional’, quasi-jazz, neu-age, etc…

‘Folk’ ~ everything else and then some, at least one generation removed from any of the previous, endless sub-categories…

‘Folkies’ ~ also referred to by some as ‘weekend folkies’, or ‘fare-weather folkies’, when the mood hits them, or on holidays, or they have an urge to belong to something beyond being of the bourgeois suburban middle-classes… (see, I told you I was a lefty…)

Readjusted lyrics ~ Come all ye young pretty folk and join in my song ~ (singer-songwriter aspirations) ~

CHORUS:
So let’s have a bloody good moan,
And always remember the longer you live,
the sooner you bloody well die…

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

“Roots music” seems to be gaining currency here in the US. Encompasses almost any traditional music like country blues, early urban acoustic blues, old-timey, Irish, Gullah, circle shouts and field hollers. A wide net.

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Yeah, I like roots, being madly in love with plants and trees… ‘Roots’ has had currency in many places, including these isles, where the magazine "Folk Roots" took it to heart, now known as "FRoots". Somehow the auditory correlation, ‘fruits’, fits… 😎

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Australians like roots too I’m told.

I was posting something on myspace t’other day and noticed that they have "genres" (always makes me cringe when applied music that word) by the dozen ("emotronic" "concrete" "shoegaze" … ?) for indy/rock and hip hop type music, most of which is indistinguishable to me, but "jazz", "folk" or "world" are just catch-alls. Except for some individually defined American and Carribean styles(such as "merengue" etc,) no doubt reflecting the American hosting of myspace.

My conclusions from this:

1. Worrying about such definitions is an adolescent preoccupation, mature adults mostly don’t give a sh!t

2. The multiple fanciful genres for mostly similar-sounding recently-created pop/rock music are there to appease the musicians, who are ever-anxious to differentiate themselves - the listeners really don’t care that much, except for adolescents who want to identify with gangs or tribes

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

Right, and how many ‘mature adults’ do you hang out with at your regular sessions Bren?

I can see you all now, in your 1000 quid+ suits, your silk ties, diamond stud cufflinks and/or earrings, with aligator-skin cases for all you instruments, and 500 quid shoes, and your platinum credity cards and tall Shirly Temples with the little umbrellas… And your perms, musn’t forget the perms… Big city slickers… 😉

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"? ~ a new sub-category?

Let’s slam ‘folk’ & ‘jazz’ together, and other influences, to create the new category ~

"FUZZ"

Since it is mostly the young at experience and understanding who most often zig wildly around trying various cross-overs, and so often miss the mark completely and end up trampling around somewhere in the middle of the muddle, in other words doing an injustice to both traditions (& or any of the endless sub-categories) ~ jazz, folk, and whatever derivitives? ~ by design or accident? ~ Too few pull it off with any skill, understanding or humour (all appreciated!)… 🙁

We could even call it:

"LIMBO FUZZ!" ~ zzzzzzzzz…

Hey! ~ ‘LImbo Rock’ anyone ~

Every limbo boy and girl
All around the limbo world
Gonna do the limbo rock
All around the limbo clock
Jack be limbo, Jack be quick
Jack go unda limbo stick
All around the limbo clock
Hey, let’s do the limbo rock

Limbo lower now
Limbo lower now
How low can you go ~ 😉

Re: What’s wrong with saying "folk"?

That’s a good one, c. But all manner of cultural, religious and other movements have started with demeaning names and gone on - with their names - to become respectable (the Methodists, for instance, or the Quakers).

So decades on, Royal variety performances may include this or that venerable singer / player / band who pioneered Grunge Fuzz in the bowels of some hall of residence, or maybe art installation, in the Noughties; or maybe well before. The Master of the King’s/Queen’s Music will labour to write public commemorative pieces in the genre.