Women (or lack thereof?) in the folk music scene
This was in yesterday’s Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/jan/25/women-challenge-scottish-folk-scene-macho-image?CMP=twt_a-music_b-gdnmusic
I thought the writer made some salient points. Trad music, at least in Scotland, remains a male dominated activity — not just at the professional level, but even at sessions with mostly amateur players. Now and then the gender balance is 50/50, or once in a blue moon you will have a female dominated session, but I can’t honestly remember when that last happened to me.
The writer of the Guardian piece suggested that there is more of an appetite in the industry for "masculine" trad music, fast, driving, aggressive; she quoted Simon Thoumire saying some odd things, like, "Maybe. Maybe it’s an animalistic thing. Maybe we [men] want pounding stuff because instinctively we should be out hunting,” and Donald Shaw saying some odder things: “if a woman straps on an electric guitar, is she genuinely absolutely comfortable when she starts sweating?”
I’ve met great female players who can play aggressive, driving music, but there are less of them at the top, getting the same number of well publicized gigs, awards, recognition, as male musicians (tune players — like Molleson said in the article, singers are in a different ball game). Are those qualities in a female instrumentalist not rewarded to the same degree? If a female musician dressed in black leather like the Treacherous Orchestra lads, would it be recieved in the same way? Are there less women playing in that style? Are less women putting themselves out there for the awards, etc? And the notion of the drink-fueled cock-size competition doesn’t answer the question of why sessions in general — at all levels — have a male majority.
Anyway, thought I’d throw it out to the Mustard Board crowd. Like the old days.