Wednesday, September 24, 2008

'Your' Song...?

Occasionally people get upset when others perform what they perceive as ‘their’ song. In less mature years I have been guilty of such an inappropriate attitude. Since puberty is just around the corner, I repent!

We’re in the folk world here. Almost everything is in the public domain. Unless you have penned it yourself, there is no such thing as ‘your’ song. (OK, let’s agree that self-penned material belongs in the folk world.)

At another club one of our regular participants was strongly advised against singing a well-known Irish song because ‘someone else sings that.’ “Outrageous!” say I. It is a travesty that this valuable singer was seriously discouraged, for many months thereafter, from public performance.

A folk song belongs to us all. Any one song may be part of many people’s repertoires. Ownership thereof is ephemeral. Such possession exists exclusively for the duration of a performance. In a good rendition the performer temporarily makes it his/her own, shares it, and generously gives it away.

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