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Author Topic: Where do you stand?  (Read 13583 times)
Nick Duxbury
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« on: May 20, 2006, 10:44:23 PM »

Hello all...

Just a really quick, but hopefully controversial, topic!   Grin

Where do people stand on the issues of modernising folk music?  What do you think of people like Martyn Bennett, Peatbog Faeries, Jim Moray and even really early Fairport (when they first 'electricuted' folk music)? 

Personally I'm not too fussy as long as it sounds good and people are more than welcome to mess with traditional songs (after all it is an evolving tradition)... which has allowed me to start to experimenting with remixing stuff like Dr. Faustus and Hoover The Dog (just amusing myself really as an escape from uni).

But how far does anyone think the boundaries can be push?  (I'm not asking the 'what is folk music?' question - just how far can people go?)

Cheers you beautiful people!  Kiss
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2006, 10:49:53 PM »

One of my favourite albums is Bedlam Born, by Steeleye Span. Most tracks wouldn't disgrace a heavy rock band. I also like several of Steeleye's heavier tracks, Alison Gross for instance. so as far as I'm concerned you can go as far as you like.

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greglin (Gregg)
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2006, 11:25:09 PM »

Ah now - I've bored for my country on this..................................

I reckon the trad - rock genre ( as opposed to folk-rock, which is so wide as to be meaningless) has infinite possibilities in terms of modernisation. FC were definitely pioneers, but the Morris On albums were perhaps truer in terms of modernising old tunes. So that  aspect is continuing with Peatbogs, Shooglenifty, and to a point Eliza carthy with Red / Rice. Dalriada went to the stage of taking old songs into the rock arena with no traditional instruments at all.

Only thing bugs me is the sort of techno versions of irish tunes - a la Lonesome Boatman - but in general I'mm all for it - I can always to back to Ten man Mop etc if I want a slightly softer alternative.
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2006, 03:12:57 AM »

Pleeeeeeeeese push it as far as you can. Martyn Bennet. jim Moray et al yes please.

Sorry Paul but get real, much as I love Bedlam Born its still Steeleye and not pushing the boundaries.
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2006, 07:57:59 AM »

Probably someone in the dim and very distant past, moaned when the first musical instrument  was added to the mix.  Probably started as foot tapping and voice.  Stuff evolves or dies, as some one a lot brighter than me once said.

Personally I like the rocking folk stuff, and it has only been recently that I have got  into listening to the more traditional type. So if a drum and bass version of Tam Lin comes out (god forbid!!!) it might mean someone picks up on the musical tradition.

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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2006, 08:56:55 AM »

Theres only two kinds of music - great music and everything else, and it appears to me that most of the great music being produced at the moment is happening on the boundaries between genres anyway, so bring it on!
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2006, 10:57:01 AM »

personally i dont mind anybody doing anything to music but if i think its awful i'll say so
hello mr moray Roll Eyes
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2006, 01:06:19 PM »



As a certain Mr Swarbrick (for it is he) once said. Ahem....

"You can do anything to music. It doesn't mind"  Cool Roll Eyes

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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2006, 11:22:10 AM »

Are you sitting comfortably........................?

this is something which has been excercising my mind for a while..and perhaps this is the correct thread......regarding the ongoing development of English traditional music in particular. And I think you are in great danger of seeing your traditions subsumed in a morass of political correctness and a fear of being seen as xenophobic or jingoistic. I know that there is a perceived resurgance in the "folk" scene - but I'm not talking about the singer songwriter / original material genre, but the old traditional tunes and songs.

Consider - Scots and Irish traditional music is not only high profile but is continuing to develop in assimilating current musical trends - well, at least the Scots are - while retaining the traditions, history and culture which shaped the music. OK- so there has to be a certain element of triumphant nationalism, politics and oft times a refusal to forget old issues - where would the Celtic music traditions in these islands be without a healthy hatred of the English - it gave the music a focus and a cultural base. You probably know by now that I'm a huge fan of English trad - especially Morris and the narrative tradition - but some of my favourite Irish songs are either vicious rants against the English or celebrations of Irish victories.

However, bearing in mind the recent news story that taxi drivers in Blackpool can't display any English flags, shirts, badges etc during the World Cup, for fear of giving offence to holidaymakers from other nations, and the debate over dropping "Rule Britannia" from the Proms, it seems that the desire not to offend means that any demonstration of Englishness will be seen as an insult to other cultures - in particular those who have been assimilated into British society over the last 100 years or so. It can only be a metter of time until any lyric celebrating past victories over the French, Dutch or any other European nation will be banned !!

On that basis, it seems that traditional music will either remain in stasis, or retreat into the purist clubs, - and while there is definitely a case for maintaing the "pure" forms -  certainly there is little chance of seeing it develop by taking on board new musical styles and genres - or of appealing to a wider audience. As I've said before, apart from Eliza Carthy's Red / Rice, I'm not aware of anty other artists trying to marry traditional tunes and songs with hip hop rhythms etc ( if I'm wrong, do tell me please - I'd love to hear 'em).

I'll always be a fan of traditional music, but my discovery of trad-rock with FC and others as a teenager came partly because they were also a "rock" band in keeping with my other musical  influences at the time. Now, with "rock" being very much a side road for today's kids, traditional music needs to ingest current musical influences - not to stifle the pure traditional - but to alllow it to breathe, develop and expand...................

Whew.....................sorry if that appears a bit of a ramble...............now I need a coffee.
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2006, 04:16:53 PM »

Personally, I love it.
I defy anyone to listen to the Peatbogs without at least a toe tapping away. Both their high-voltage and the more mellow stuff fuse pipe and beats together sublimely. I have yet to discover everything by Jim Moray and Martyn Bennet but I've a fair bit of Shooglenifty and I'm on the hunt for Tunngs' latest. I reckon Eliza could take the genre forward quite a bit as well. The Oysters do their bit as do Fairport on their 'Rock band with violins' numbers
Hmm time to annoy/ cofuse the neighbours with the car stereo I think.
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2006, 09:25:15 AM »

I agree push the bondaries as far as possible. When we were watching Verity Sharpe on the Saturday night of the OFF she played some drum & bass track with a fiddle line over the top (if anyone has an incling what this could have been please PM me i would LOVE to play it to my Drum & bass crazed youngest brother). iT WAS FANTASTIC! That's what's so exciting about folk music that it can evolve. Well that's what I think...
Vikki xx
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2006, 09:37:16 AM »

I think that simply time will tell.

FC and those that they influenced have proved over the past 40 years that traditional music can be married to a rock ethos to good effect - witness how the Levellers. Oysterband, Steeleye, various Albions etc have picked up the baton and moved on with it.

As yet we don't know if folk and (for want of a better phrase) techno will have the longevity and dare I say the mainstream appeal that folk rock had. Certainly the underground side of things seems to be gathering steam with the Twisted Folk set up but will people still be talking about it, listening to it and feeling its influence in 40 years time?

Who knows (as the song says)

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fat Billy(Bill)
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2006, 09:38:36 AM »

Bring it on. If I like it, I like it.

If people stop pushing the envelope the genre will die.
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Fi
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2006, 09:46:07 AM »

That's what's so exciting about folk music that it can evolve. Well that's what I think...

Absolutely, and some things work and some things don't. I am a big fan of Elixa Carthy but she made an (in my opinion) awful noise with a couple of club DJs at Ceilidh Aid last year. As she said herself on Radio 3 the other week, the good stuff will stay about and keep being played, the bad stuff will fade away. I think this applies to not only passing tunes on in sessions etc, but also to all the other ways the music evolves.

Bring on the dicso sea shanties......!! Grin

Cheers

Fi

P.S the fiddle + D'n'B may well have been some Martyn Bennet...
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2006, 11:01:19 AM »

Actually, now I think about, when listening to alt-folk I tend not to stand. I usually thrash about in that blokey 'can't-dance-so-will-shuffle-about-looking-like-a-duck-wagging-its-arse' sort of way.

Thanks for the heads up on Twisted Folk, just checked out the website. Looks interesting.

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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2006, 01:57:54 PM »

Another honourable addition to the "take it to the edge and wave one foot over the cliff" school would be the Demon Barbers Roadshow who were at St Neots last month.

As I said at the time, fantastic energy , a real SHOW with the dancing incorporated, and music with a snarling bite to it.

Great stuff.
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« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2006, 03:19:34 PM »

There are ways and ways to modernise folk music. We could say that adding drum, bass and electric instruments is modernising (as FC). We could say that Martin Carthy did it by playing guitar with altered tunings, or how about Bellowhead with massed brass or June Tabor with a jazz approach, Martyn Bennett with samples or fusing cultures like the Afro Celts. What I think is important is a respect for the source. OK, so Dave Swarbrick may have said "the music doesn't mind" and Carthy may have said "the only damage that can be done is by not doing it". But how about this? Listen to the old source singers and players. They have a way of presenting the song and tune in a way which is unique to Western music. If we just play everything in strict 4/4 or 3/4 we lose the beauty of the unphrased song and tune, the pause for effect. In fact, it just sounds like anything else, it is no longer unique. Fairport were wise to this in the days of Unhalfbricking and Liege and Lief - listen to a Sailor's Life and Reynardine and compare with Steeleye's All Around my Hat and Hard Days of Old England. So I reckon anything is fair game, but we should strive not to make folk music sound like everything else but to exploit what makes it different.
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Nick Duxbury
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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2006, 11:54:05 AM »

we should strive not to make folk music sound like everything else but to exploit what makes it different.

I think that's the most concise quote anyone has come up with thus far...
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« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2006, 07:55:20 PM »

What has always impressed me by the folk scene in general is, bar a few exceptions, very unpretentious, and very honest. What really appeals to me though is the strong link with the then and now. Tradition is obviously a very important aspect of folk as it is the strong link to the past and defines an aspect of it's identity and relation with the contemporary (does that makes sense). I've never thought of folk music as being subject to the fickle tastes that have embraced and then spat out so many genres that have graced or curesed the various decades of my life. It is what it is. It doesn't demand mass attention but always seems to have it. It's very grounded becuase it's never really subject to mass marketing on the higher level and would never want to be. What is beautiful about it all though is that it just developes naturally as the generations pass with a healthy appetite for the new and an unwaverable loyalty to what has past. I've never really seen folk music as being modernised so much as just progressing naturally. All that stuff the BBC came out with about a rift between the traditionalists and the new generation is ****. Having to pay your dues with tradition before you can be respected is something I've never felt pressured to submit to. That I like what I like and don't like what I don't like seems to be ok with the folk world.

I hope that atleast some of that makes sense.
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2006, 09:24:05 PM »

Somewhere at the back put leaning forward or at the looking for ber with flavour.
If it makes me cry or my teeth rattle I like it.
Any music that is not contrived and I like it I like.
The beauty these days is that there is so much available.
Musicianship and a good voice cannot make up for a lack of sincerity.
Don't get me started on marketing and media hype.

Pull up a fire etc..
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