The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

I’m maybe two years into the trad scene. My family don’t have much experience of it, I got into it through the leaving cert examination where we had to learn about trad, and discovered a world of amazing music previously undiscovered to me. However while I was mainly taught about tunes and their beats etc, it was Planxty/Andy Irvine and Paul Brady that really got me into it so I would say I have more of a love/affinity for Irish folk than tunes. While I love tunes and I love playing with trad players (i play accompaniment on the mandolin as i’m not that good at playing tunes) I feel that they are best utilised in cognito with songs, ala folk groups….. do ye know what I mean? I have been told the playing of tunes has its hidden depths, and i love playing tunes, I couldn’t JUST play tunes.

Furthermore, I would like to know what those raised/experienced in trad feel about folk groups - I don’t really associate the two phenomenons together. When I have asked people I play with if they wanted to form a group to play songs and tunes, their response hasn’t been too enthusiastic, i felt it was something they don’t really associate with.

What do you think?

Thanks
Tim

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on that note I’d like to add that I play and sing with the five string banjo, which I would feel more confident doing than playing trad, but on that i’m a fairly competent accompanist.

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So, you think playing tunes doesn’t have hidden depths? I don’t get it.

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Hmm, I expect you should get a few interesting replies to this….not all of them pleasant. Some may tell you that ITM is not folk music, some may even say that it originated in Ireland!

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You could look for a song session. Or a tune session where they do more than one or a few songs on a given night.

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I quite consciously changed my usual description of what I play - I found that saying ‘folk music’ to the uninitiated had people thinking I spend all my time with sandal-wearing beardies who holler Dylan songs badly into their ale. Or else they seem to think I spent all my time wearing strange, highly emroidered items of clothing for the entertainment of foreign tourists.

O.K., I only spend some of my time like that (and not the highly-embroidered bit). But it’s not an association I feel particularly comfortable with either, and I found people responded differently (better) when I explained that trad is rather different, usually by listing the instruments used. More people seem to perceive a ‘different’ value in that…

Ian

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To Ben Steen,
I love tunes and i agree with those who told me they had hidden depths. At the same time, I feel a lot of trad musicians limit themselves to tunes and aren’t enjoying the full expanse of irish music

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They may be enjoying themselves. Eh? Just a guess on my part.

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no need to be snotty. just speaking my mind

~

& nothing to stop you from doing what you truly enjoy either.

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Tim, don’t get me wrong. I’m not being snotty. My apologies if it’s seems that I am.
Cheers,
Ben

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Well Tim, I got into folk music through songs and singers and my local folk clubs. If you pressed them (or me) to give their description of folk music, it would include every kind of trad music known to man, blues and country music, rock (they would probably draw the line at the really electronic stuff), music hall etc.

The only musics that would likely be excluded would be high church, court, classical and high opera (and even then some classical tunes - especially the dance music would be acceptable).

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Tim, why be concerned with what other players do to enjoy themselves? Who are you to decide what others should do with their music. I see that as a waste of energy.
Each individual is free to explore in their own ways.
What you percieve as a trad player limiting themself is just as easily seen as a player being highly focused and becoming far more skilled at the task being focused on rather than diluting their time with songs instead of playing tunes.
As for playing pipes, I can assure you that the more time spent focusing on all things piping helps one become a better piper. Even when exploring songs or guitar or mandolin or whatever I may do it ultimately brings me back to the pipes.
To me the pipes come first and that’s where I’ll spend the majority of my time Tim.
I’d probably (note that I say probably) decline playing in your group too.

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Sessions vary widely. I have not experienced your session, Tim, or met your mates with whom you play. On this site it has been suggested that a session is whatever the people having the session want it to be. I do my best to respect this perspective. However, you have asked your session mates if any would like to join you in a band but have not received an enthusiastic response. It may be they are living cloistered lives & are in deep need of experiencing more musically. In which case more power to you. Or it may be they are immersed in the music they are playing & having a very full experience. I wouldn’t know which is the case. If it is the former I can relate. If it is the later I can relate.
So far I have no way of knowing which is true.
If it is the former, I commiserate. If it is the latter … well it seems you’re feeling it isn’t. I’m suggesting there is a chance it is. But I don’t know for sure.

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Most people who post on this site are happy "just" playing tunes. The songs don’t interest me. "Folk groups" are fine as something to listen to on the iPod while driving but I haven’t any desire to play in one. I prefer sessions with as few songs as possible. Preferably none. Unless the singer is really amazing but how often does that happen?

Is that the full "depth" of the Irish tradition? Obviously the singing tradition, especially the sean nos stuff and other older Gaelic and Irish stuff, is a part of the culture and the music and someone who cares deeply about that sort of thing and is immersed in it, say Seamus Ennis, would be cognizant of the songs, tunes, and dance. In fairness though a lot players I know couldn’t care less. They just enjoy playing tunes. I think when you start talking about one thing having more "depth" than other, you’re basically looking for a way to say, with more authority behind you, that you like one thing better than another thing. Which is fine. We all do. You just have to be honest about it. I’m aware that the vast majority of the population gets bored of endless diddley tunes all night, but the depths of how little I care are immense.

For a group that actually explored the depth of the tradition, insofar as I can work out a meaning for that phrase, try Hamish Moore’s Na Tri Seudan. Not Irish, Scottish. But Hamish has made them all replicas of nineteenth century bagpipes and has them playing tunes that were played in the eighteenth/nineteenth century in the style approximating how pipers may have played then. They are also incorporating Gaelic singing and indigenous Highland dancing.

http://www.armaghpipers.org/artists/naTriSeudan.html

I love Planxty, the Bothy Band, etc., don’t get me wrong. But I wouldn’t say they are engaging with the depths of the tradition in any particular way.

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"I feel that they are best utilised in cognito with songs, ala folk groups….. do ye know what I mean?" ~ Tim
Without being snooty, I’d say what I hope not to have happen, when playing tunes, is for someone to say, "Nice utilization!" 😉

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I only do paid sessions these days, well except on holiday, so we have always had a mixture of tunes and songs. If you are there to entertain in a way, you need songs.

Even Molloy’s in Westport have now recognized that.

However if you are just out for a night and ask the owner "ok if we play a few tunes" well maybe you would stick to tunes. However given that EVERY pub owner now believes that NOISE attracts rather than repels customers, those opportunities are limited.

However some of the best "paid" sessions in Belfast featuring mighty musicians attract large crowds but no one is actually listening to the music, and indeed they are mostly outside smoking. But they are there because of "the music", a strange phenomenon indeed.

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OH, I am a 100% FOLKIE. I love good songs, slow airs and a bit of variation at any session.

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My voice is all hoarse and gone nowadays but believe it or not I used to sing in many sessions and gigs, and quite well, IMHO, may I add.
It’s a bit like anything else, you either have it or you don’t. I used to always get the crowd rearing up for more and was told so on many occasions. I’ve heard many many singers who murder a song by stomping roughly all over the delicate bits, or treat a thing of beauty such as an old song like a piece of disposable pop music, and don’t put their whole heart into it.
If you sing a song on its own or song followed by tunes or just play tunes, it doesn’t matter, as long as you can deliver and put your whole heart into it and *show* that you love the piece - enough that the audience/non-playing session attendees understand this - then you have done the job. You have treated the song with the respect it deserves, and conveyed your interpretation.

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The way I’ve heard it, on this forum, is "immersion in the tradition". Engaging with the depths of the tradition is different, to me. What does it mean? It’s not just being immersed in a tradition.

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Immersion in the tradition is just the starting point ben

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O.K. … what is engaging with the depths of the tradition, Professor Rudall?

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Hmmm. I’m thankful that I (a) don’t play at paid sessions, (b) don’t play at sessions to entertain people, (c) do play shows and gigs to entertain people, (d) am able to enjoy accompanying songs or playing tunes all night, without worrying about how one or the other by themselves might be limiting.

Posted .

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you tell me - you introduced the term on this thread

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that was to ben

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Thanks, Will.
Daniel ~ never mind.
Emily … lol, "I’m aware that the vast majority of the population gets bored of endless diddley tunes all night, but the depths of how little I care are immense."

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The ruination of good sessions is certainly NOT from singers wanting a tune or two to follow their "performance". That little performance thing can add great verve to an otherwise endless litany of reel set after reel set. Any selfish prick on this thread/site who thinks bashing out reel set after reel set is ok, whingeing on about "I’m just playing for myself, not doing a performance, this is just a place where me and my mates meet and play what tunes WE want to, and we don’t give a shining sh!te what anyone else in the pub thinks" - well they want to cop on do all the wall to wall reels in yer kitchen but when ye’r in a public place you play to the public. And that’s not doing michael jackson p!sh but playing good stuff, and a variety of it, including songs, and songs plus tunes.

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Oh, I meant to say - and a fortuitous thing that this has become a standalone comment - the ruination of many good sessions is unsolicited spoons and crap bodhran playing. Fact.

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Danny, I don’t mind at all when a singer makes a performance out of a song at a session. The human voice and the story of the song in words command attention, while diddley tunes, however sacrosanct they may be to the diddlers and twiddlers, rarely resonate with the same power as songs among listeners in the pub.

And I’m more than happy to do whatever the singer wants—put my fiddle down and listen quietly, play accompaniment (fills, counterpoint, a break or two, whatever), or add a tune or two.

But I hope the singer isn’t playing or pandering to "the public" and instead is just singing a song he or she wants to sing. Elsewise, the public would hear only Danny Boy and Bold Fenian Men and Wild Mountain Thyme week after week, and so many great songs would go unsung.

Which is a long way of saying that I couldn’t disagree more with the sentiment: "…when yer in a pubic place you play to the public." Most of the public won’t sit still for our music, tunes or songs. They want Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, and U2.

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very interesting to read everyone’s replies and thanks for comments.

just to clear up on the earlier issues raised, what i meant by "folk" is specifically irish folk groups, i thought that would be implicit given the nature of this discussion forum, but no worries. To follow on that, what i would consider a folk group is Planxty, the Dubliners, the Fureys, the duo of Andy Irvine and Paul Brady, or Eddie and Finbar Furey. I would consider De Danann, Danu, Solas, Flook trad playing groups, despite the inclusion of the occasional song.

I didn’t raise any issues on the depth of the irish tradition, what I meant was the depth of the tunes themselves as felt by those playing them.

Boatpiper, you make a very good point and make a lot of sense to me. While I have what i would call a fluency on several instruments, I excel at none. I hop between said instruments and don’t have the patience to focus on mastering any - believe me, i’ve tried. That is my problem though and in a way I’m content like that.
On being concerned about others’ music interests, I can’t help but feel how i feel. Firstly, to me and I would say, a lot of people, there is very little more satisfying than playing music with other people. For a long time now I’ve wanted to play in some kind of a folk group because that would mean something to me and it’s music i get a lot out of. Where better to find people involved in the Irish music sphere, who play the instruments and music involved, than trad players, and upon getting to know some I was disappointed when they didn’t show interest. So I expressed my views, simple. Not out of being a busybody or being pernickety.

Ben Steen - I think you know what I mean now and you’ve definitely described how i feel. As controversial as it might be to say, I can’t help but feel that a lot of the players i’ve come across are, as you say "cloistered" in their views. I’ve experienced this in Waterford where i’m from and Dublin, where I live now and play with trad musicians from dublin and all over. My music teacher in 6th year was from a very active trad family, all were absolutely wonderful flute players In my dealings with them however I noticed a subconscious refusal to adhere to other types of music.

There is also the issue that I would still consider myself an outsider/still quite new to the playing of our trad music…. so perhaps there is a lot I don’t understand.

Furthermore I suppose I have a pretty eclectic taste. There are few types of music that wouldn’t appeal to me, though Irish folk and trad are top of my list at the moment and have been for longer than my usual phases. I spent most of my latter teens listening to hardcore punk. Black Flag, Minor Threat etc. But I feel i’ve found my niche in folk - i love american appalachian folk and english folk too, but Irish folk is my favourite.

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i meant to add on to the last bit - but a part of me can’t understand why people wouldn’t want to be involved in more than one area of music, particularly one in the same sphere (I’m overusing the word sphere, I know..).

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Surly boy, there is absolutely nothing wrong with what you have said. It’s just that many people, regardless or musical genre or preference don’t like to stray out of their comfort zone. Furthermore, as you know, most sessions are intentionally tune heavy for a reason - they’re populated by primarily tune players.

However, you’d be more than welcome in our sessions - anybody who likes the Dubliners AND Henry Rollins is a-ok with me…

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This also raises the question of how eclectic a session can be and still be a session and not a jam or song circle or something else. Of course it’s up to the participants. But when I sit down for an evening of tunes, I prefer to play tunes. I have plenty of other opportunities to play punk, bluegrass, classic rock, blues, folk, and Appalachian music, all of which I do (or have done). But it’s nice to have one time slot set aside for Irish traditional music, particularly the tunes. In a world so full of pop and rock and country, I’m glad that myself and some friends have one night a week to focus on the looooooong list of tunes we’ve spent so much time and energy learning over the years.

Posted .

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And mistaking a session for a gig

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Will - I’m with you on this one. There was a thread recently about unusual tunes - the doggy in the window and other such deviations. I think those are great - and go as far as to say that they, along with a good song or two followed by a good tune or two, are what makes a good session a well rounded event, and the non-playing attendees CAN feel like they are at a gig, but so close up they can touch a God such as me. I love to let everyone have a sprinkle of my magic….just joking, I haven’t been to a session in weeks. But variety is deffo the spice of a good sesh.

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I am in a folk group, and we are often the majority of folks playing at the session I go to the most. But we try to keep ourselves from dominating the proceedings—maybe a half dozen songs per session. A good session should be dominated by tunes.
Both traditions, the song and the tune tradition, are good! When they meet, you just need to keep them in balance with each other.

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Bob Dylan learned what happens when you stray from the tradition—making use of electricity, not sleeping with a Bolshevik hat on, and other blasphemies.

It sank his career back in 1965. Poor guy was never heard from again. The times, they weren’t a-changin’ one iota, Mr. Zimmerman.

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Surly Boy, although I was brought up in rural Ireland, I had no experience of traditional music as a child. Then I heard Planxty when I was twelve and my whole world changed. Likewise with the Bothy Band, Stockton’s Wing, De Danann etc. Alright, Planxty weren’t a ‘traditional’ band per se but they did have one of the best pipers in Ireland and he played straight traditional music.

I was/am entranced by the playing of Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny. Although what they play is considered ‘folk’ (in that it’s not done in a straight unaccompanied traditional style) they have a great respect for and understanding of reels, jigs and hornpipes. I’m sure you’ve heard Andy plays jigs; you couldn’t say he doesn’t understand or respect Irish traditional music.

There is a cross-over element to many of today’s Irish ‘folk’ artists.

Where there is a yawning gap is with those who play the syrupy sentimental stuff—’Fields of Athenry’, Dublin in the Rare Aul’ Times’ and the likes. They’re often referred to as ‘folk’ musicians when they’re really lounge-bar performers. They wouldn’t really be accepted at sessions, even if they were only ‘strumming along’.

Them’s just my personal opinions…

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Them’s good opinions in my book. Trouble is as it is a specialised market most people wouldn’t know any different. Unless they made an effort. Then it is a specialised genre, and not folk music as it would like to be defined. Folk music is mostly a preserve of the middle class or the working class intellegentsia, not of "folk", it took me a long time to realise but realise I finally did, that the working class in London only require salvation when they get thrown on the dole. Up until then they will sh!te on their granny’s fanny.

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>>For a long time now I’ve wanted to play in some kind of a folk group because that would mean something to me and it’s music i get a lot out of. Where better to find people involved in the Irish music sphere, who play the instruments and music involved, than trad players, and upon getting to know some I was disappointed when they didn’t show interest.

Surly Boy, I am right with you on that one - been there too. Personally, I prefer working with a small number of people on something, to the point that you are working almost as one, and the interaction is really tight, you know exactly where each other is coming from, and the sound is more complex as a result.

In my experience, you need the discipline of a small, closed group for that, and so far I have found few/no other session musicians who have shown the same inclination. Perhaps that is what makes them session musicians rather than band musicians. Nothing wrong with sessions and their members on their own terms, but it is a different thing. Maybe there are sessions that are different, and I just haven’t found them yet.

On the other hand, IMHO there is nothing worse than a band that does ‘a bit of everything’ whereas it perhaps doesn’t matter so much in a session. A band is much more than just its music - even apart from the polictics/personalities to deal with, it is necessary for it to have a clear identity in the minds of both its members and its audiences, and mix ‘n’ match outfits only ever fall between stools in that respect.

What’s more, while I have interests in lots of types of music, there’s only one that I have ever felt great desire to play, and I’m happy with that. I doubt I’m the only one…

Ian

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>>Where there is a yawning gap is with those who play the syrupy sentimental stuff

>>and not folk music as it would like to be defined

When you also see the current crop of light-end, part-acoustic pop acts being described and reviewed as ‘folk’, you start to realise just what a problem that term actually presents for the population at large…

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The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups - well, going by what Ian says above, surely it depends on the band itself?
No disrespect to Abba, whom i like in an unreconstructed pre-Althusserian, Gramschian kind of way (bullsh!tting here), yeah, some of the younger bands are kind of tradabba…trabba…or something….
but some are rock solid and know where they come from and where they’re going.All I can say is let’s not knock down all the young shoots - allow them to grow first.

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Tim - why don’t you put out on here for others who want to form a band with you?

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Which is a long way of saying that I couldn’t disagree more with the sentiment: "…when yer in a pubic place you play to the public." Most of the public won’t sit still for our music, tunes or songs. They want Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, and U2.

# Posted on December 17th 2010 by Will Harmon



I have heard of 1 out of three here, but couldn’t name any songs or tunes U2 do, but I have heard the name.

New group from Dublin I believe…..

Re: The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

Where there is a yawning gap is with those who play the syrupy sentimental stuff—’Fields of Athenry’, Dublin in the Rare Aul’ Times’ and the likes. They’re often referred to as ‘folk’ musicians when they’re really lounge-bar performers. They wouldn’t really be accepted at sessions, even if they were only ‘strumming along’.

Them’s just my personal opinions…

# Posted on December 18th 2010 by amhrán




Like that old eejit ……Luke kelly?


father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

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Finally, a simple question.

Has anyone ever come across a law, federal or state or even common law which states "a session will be reel after reel ONLY".

I haven’t meself but then……..

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>>I have heard of 1 out of three here, but couldn’t name any songs or tunes U2 do, but I have heard the name.
New group from Dublin I believe…..

Oh it’s so conforting to know I’m not the only one… 🙂 Bear in mind that I encounter frequent incredulity from everyone from my wife (though she is does now appreciate why) to my work colleagues and students over my almost universal ignorance of commercial (i.e. mainstream pop/rock) music. Ever since I was a kid I have sought out specialist niches, and so am almost completely ignorant of the works of Madonna, Lada Gaga, Wacko Jacko and the rest. Why would I be otherwise when I have something so much better?

The reaction of disbelief can be relatively easily countered by spouting a list of trad groups, musicians, time signatures, tune genres and even instruments, most of which my assailants have never even heard of. End result is normally a kind of sheepish concession 😉

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# Posted on December 18th 2010 by ian stock


No one ever believes me when I ask "What is the X factor" and stuff like that.

Back in the 1960s an elderly judge allegedly asked "What are the Beatles".

He has now become my hero.

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>>Back in the 1960s

…implies you have a few years on me, which might almost excuse you. Someone only in his mid-late forties is mostly expected to know ‘better’…

Ian

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Never really thought about it like that Rudall. The working classes these days seem to be more interested in The X Factor than the exploitation of the masses. Television has become the opium of the masses!

The Corrs were actually referred to as an Irish folk group! Once they produce a tin whistle or a fiddle, they’re automatically folk musicians!

I have to confess bodhrán that I had a soft spot for Luke Kelly’s music, even his version of ‘Dublin in the Rare Aul’ Times’!! I wasn’t always fond of the Dubliners’ output but Luke was a performer in a million. I think what defined him—apart from the amazing voice—was that he had a deep interest in and experience of what he sang about. It came from the heart.

For me, the best performers, be they ‘traditional’ players or ‘folk’ singers are those for whom the music has a meaning. The late great Mícheál Ó Domhnaill was another case in point. He would research every piece he played and could tell you the history behind it. It meant something to him and he could convey that empathy to the audience.

The least appealing players/performers are those who take just any old tune or song and belt it out without any feel for it.

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# Posted on December 18th 2010 by amhrán


I agree with much of your post Amhrán but remember that barney McKenna and John Sheehan inspired a whole generation of people to become tune players.

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Tim, there is a YouTube of Andre Rieu playing with the fiddler from the Dubliners. Actually there are 2 YouTubes; in any case I don’t recommend you watch or listen to either one. Bide your time, someone will post a link on this site. Point is it goes a long ways toward explaining why some of your mates are less than enthusiastic about playing to a larger audience. The burden of fame, I suppose.

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I always find it amusing how the young ‘traditionalists’ turn their noses up at the old favorite songs that their parents and grandparents loved to sing…

Re: The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

I always find it amusing how the young ‘traditionalists’ turn their noses up at the old favorite songs that their parents and grandparents loved to sing…

# Posted on December 19th 2010 by AlBrown



Don’t start me……….

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Songs and tunes, tunes and songs - what’s the perfect mix?
I don’t know. However, every week we attempt to find it.
Here’s a general formula that seems to be working in our local - spread out in everchanging ratios weekly for at least 4 hours.

hellos, reels, songs, jokes, drinks,
jigs, polkas, strolls, airs, songs, reels, slides, hornpipes,
laughs, songs, arguments, reels, songs, drinks, winks,
waltzes, a cappellas, reels, songs, jigs, goodbyes

(By the way, if someone has a narrow or stereotyped view of "folk music", why pander to ignorance by pretending that Irish trad is superior in some way within this category of music? Just play and/or sing and let a listener hear the "folk music". This should fix the problem.)

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>>play and/or sing and let a listener hear the "folk music

always assuming you’re in a position to do that at the time of the conversation… I don’t think it’s a matter of snobbery - in my case I’m just weary of trying to correct the misunderstandings that I play something that I don’t.

If I’m honest, it mildly irks me to be associated with singer-songwriters whom I don’t like and who seem to have a naff reputation in the wider world - but that’s about it.

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Locally there is a Folk Society. My understanding is that it began with musicians who played Irish dance tunes, along with musicians who sang folk songs, a little of this a little of that. Over time, I imagine because I wasn’t in those early sessions, it tended to be less Irish tunes & more songs, bluegrass, & (for lack of a better term) old-timey tunes. The folk session is still going & seems to be great for anyone who wishes to play or listen to a broad array of folk music.
It is an open session & it is possible to start a limited number of Irish dance tunes. Someone with a healthy Irish repertoire may be able to play more, but he or she may also be playing some tunes solo.

I do enjoy playing sets of Irish tunes, though not limited to Irish tunes, with people who know these tunes. I do enjoy learning tunes from other musicians. I hope they enjoy learning tunes I bring to the session. It’s what I enjoy. It’s what the people with whom I play enjoy. It’s what anyone listening enjoys (for the most part). & we have songs, banter, food & drink.
What we do is not superior to what is done in other sessions. It’s rather humble & it isn’t perfect, thankfully.

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The more uninteresting end of the "folk group" spectrum seems, to me, to be defined by the fact that the singers *have never, individually, internalised the songs*. All they are is a (usually) hearty, mindless air-fill.

Limited technique or singing ability hardly comes into it. I’ve heard plenty of singers who aren’t great in these departments but have been able to put over a song that has meant something to them and to which I have listened with interest and pleasure.

It’s a definition of trad singers that they internalise their songs - and of any number of authentic singers in other genres.

Re: The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

Whilst removing the piles of icy crud from the edge of the pavement yesterday morning, so I could drive my car out into the suburbs, a fine local singer-songwriter appeared across the road, on his way back home, and stopped in for a cup of tea and a chat.He does enjoy a lot of the trad stuff, although his skill is in the writing and performing of his own material. He made an interesting point about the modern, nu-folk or anti-folk people that are now playing to the younger generation in the newer trendy clubs. He reckons they have no skills, instrumentally, they’re all just strummers, and if they need more instrumental dazzle in their performances they have to bring in extra musicians, whereas the leading figures of our day, who we took the lead from ourselves as performers, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, John Renbourne, Bert Jansch, etc, were all skilled instrumentalists, and perpetually developing, sometimes first before they were singers, and anyone who stood up and just strummed their guitar would be less well received.
However, the other effect of all the guitar-strummers is that "folk" is perceived by the general public as being wan songs sung to a badly strummed guitar, so you use the term folk music, which is perfectly valid linguistically, at your peril when talking to someone not of us cognescenti.

Re: The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

Linguistic validity is a reach on some internet forums, but fairly common for MustardSpeak. When did folk music become the music of specialists & experts?

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Re: The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

When did folk music become the music of specialists & experts?

Sorry Ben, but about the same time as anything else worthwhie was drummed out of the general human condition. I blame it on the Industrial Revolution - the start of the dehumanisation of the proletarian masses. Marx foresaw the problem with his comment about the uses of Religion.

Just about everything else that requires more than bland brainlessness has followed suit at some point in the interim…

Ian

Re: The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

If a singer has internalised the song, and is capable of displaying the results of that, does it matter if they should also be ‘just a strummer’ ?

Re: The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

I’d be surprised to learn that they’d only be a strummer; unaccompanied, maybe, or well accompanied, but internalising doesn’t only mean carrying the emotional content.
But, as Ian says above, ‘folk music’ has, by and large, become the music of the enthusiast, ie the revivalist, rather than the ‘music of the people’ as it once was.

Re: The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

Ian, that response does not address the question.

Posted by .

Re: The general tradhead’s opinion of folk groups

To get back to the original question (sort of).

A folk group is (to me) a revivalist term, based on rock and roll models. Traditionally, we had solo singers and dance bands. It was not until the 1950’s that small groups appear to have started to form. As this was also the time that Rock and Roll small groups (skiffle as well) were most popular, I argue that folk groups are an abberation, pushed on the world to copy american trends. They were much more acoustic rock acts than traditional music. The fact that the Corrs were pushed as a folk group supports my point - as does the expectation of every guitarist singer I have ever met that every musician will know the rock standards first.

<puts on flameproof clothes :>

Martin