Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ken Debates A Motion...

The blog's been lately a little um, what's the opposite of 'lively'? It's about time for a Discussion Topic.
This house believes that: folk music has no future.
Aah! Gasp! Shock! Horror!!
I speak for the motion.
The question: 'what is folk music?' is an old, much-debated one, and the answer a thorny one. However, if we assume that folk music is 'music made by people for their own amusement', then the evidence for folk music's decline is compelling. It has its origins, dear reader, before you were born.
Regardless of whether the music is transmitted orally, or via some notation, (and it has been by both for 400 years or more), the decline in folk music started with the Industrial Revolution and the drift to the towns from the country. Folk music's resilience was considerable, but could not withstand the near-mortal blow of the Great War, and the loss of virtually a generation of young men. Some claim that the music was carried-on by the womenfolk. Some certainly was, but the gap between the young of the new generation and their grandparents' ways was a considerable one, and thus much folk culture, in song, tune and dance or ritual, was lost. That device which helped to preserve the traditional music of the British Isles (at least), i.e. the phonograph, was the harbinger of the technology which was to turn the majority from practitioners (in the home and workplace) to consumers through the audio and video media. The family sing-song round the piano gave way rapidly to the passive 'couch potato' culture of today. Even that bastion of folk music, the Gypsy traveler culture, is in its death-throes. Singaround clubs such as the City Folk Club (and there are many similar) are the last outpost of a dying culture. The youth of today see music as a way of escaping their apparent destinies and a route to fame and fortune.
So, can folk music last? Clearly not: the age of most folk singers and musicians means that it is unsustainable for more than a decade or so, say, being generous, three. So: practically extinguished by 2040, save for a handful, who might be no more numerous than flat-earthists.
Anyone care to speak against the motion?


Outa_Spaceman said...

Sorry I'm to busy listening to Half Man Half Biscuit to worry about 'folk' music dying Daddio...

Special Bitter said...

I ought to have a lot to say about all this dying of stuff.... but I don't think it matters very much.... not really. Popular demand & Henna deide what dyes and what lives.

"Popular" is an interesting concept since it can involve brainwashing, auto-suggestion, and emotional association. Surely there's more but not at the moment as I struggle with my toast and Hank Marvin's glasses.

Style gives way to categories and boxes. There is a place for everything and, I am guessing here, that a Folk Club is a pretty good place for Folk to reside.

Of course I would prefer the term "Music Club" but who really really cares what I think about or want?

Never, however, say that I am not responsive to the needs of the BLOG or would not write my corner.

Shopping now. Petersfield I think. I wonder if there's any "Folk" there?

"Oh fiddly dol bo chops bangor, bits in the chips and
sol manny manger!"

St. Anley said...

I read once in a national newspaper that "folk music is what you hear in folk clubs." I have discussed that all-embracing definition elsewhere in this blog.

If that is true, (and that's a big 'if'), folk music is you and me, it is us, it is The City Folk Club, and other such gatherings.

Folk music will continue to live so long as people like you/me/we contrive to get together, in a non-commercial scenario, on a regular basis and share music and songs that appeal to us.