Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The Music Forums > Country, Folk & World Music
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-17-2008, 07:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
Forever young
 
4ZZZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 608
Default Is there any new British folk music?

I have over the last few year been enjoying the genre that has been called Americana. This is a fairly broad folkish/Alt country genre and there are artists as diverse as Calixico to Giant Sand through to the likes of Willard Grant Conspiracy and many more. After hearing The Mountain Ash Band's wonderful 1975 release The Hermit it dawned on me that it was the first British folk music that I had listened to in who knows how long that excited me. But it was from 1975 and all my other British folk albums were from the 60's and also the 70's, Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention, etc etc. I was then intrigued to read this item in the Guardian today.
Quote:

Why is our radical folk heritage ignored?
Modern British music is so in thrall to Americana that our own treasure trove of radical traditional folk is in danger of being forgotten

Rachel Unthank

The future of folk? Rachel Unthank. Photograph: Karen Melvin

Why is the radical music of old England ignored by modern artists?

This weekend, the luminaries of the British folk revival will gather at Cecil Sharpe House, to pay tribute to AL "Bert" Lloyd, who travelled the length and breadth of the land collecting traditional ditties before they died along with their singers.

This treasure trove in our back yard is largely ignored by a contemporary, mainstream British scene in thrall to American roots music. The record-buying public would rather cough up for Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver than for the likes of Mary Hampton or Lucky Luke. Even the Mercury-nominated Rachel Unthank remains a fringe concern compared to her fellow Mercury nominee Laura Marling, who is more influenced by Americana.

The beards-and-ale stereotype of British folk has long been derided as twee, but that label hardly applies to a song like Reynardine, one of Lloyd's discoveries. The song tells the tale of a man-fox who abducts maidens and hauls them off to his castle: the kind of thing that would surely enrich the hit parade. Other songs gathered by Lloyd include ballads sung by soldiers and farmers during the Napoleonic wars, communicating a sense of war-weariness, or complaining about high grain prices, which surely resonate and provide inspiration in our own troubled times.

In his brilliant cultural history The Village That Died for England, Patrick Wright points out that many of the back-to-basics movements of the early-20th century acquired a touch of the far right. English roots music has met with the same fate, in spite of its inherent socialism, and the fact that Lloyd himself was a Marxist. Somehow, pinning a ribbon to the maypole has become akin to taking out a subscription to This England, that terrifyingly white and right-wing magazine full of pictures of thatched cottages, stirringly patriotic poems and reactionary letters.

British folk also suffers from that post-rock'n'roll paradigm which assumes that American outsider music stands for rebellion - even if, in the case of Bon Iver, it amounts to a check-shirted bloke moaning about girl trouble from the comfort of his shed.

In Eastern Europe, the political power of traditional songs was recognised and appropriated by the Communist regimes, which is perhaps why their influence can still be heard in contemporary continental music - from pop to metal to those pan-national titans of industrial sternness, Laibach.

It's a mistake to consider Britain's own ancient folk songs lifeless artefacts not worthy of contemporary reappraisal. Isn't it about time we heard a week of music from the Bert Lloyd songbook on the X Factor?
So I ask. What is going on? Are the questions this item asks correct? Also 3 things that I have thought of. Is there just a dearth of worthy artists? Has the Rock sensibilities killed the public at large of any interest? Is there a cult of personalty with celebrity that kills this genre? These 3 questions are just of the top of my head and are ideas that I have thought of quickly. There may be more or I am missing the point? The item I have posted seems to have a few names but in general they are off the music listeners page but there has to be more. Any interest or am I wrong to consider this an issue?
4ZZZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 09:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
Ba and Be.
 
jackhammer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: This Is England
Posts: 17,300
Default

Kate Rusby is an essential artist in British folk but yes there does seem a dearth in Great Folk these days. The trouble is , is that the market is so over saturated with American artists that some traditional artists seem to be struggling. It's not American bands doing this, merely the British buying public. I am sure there is great Folk out there but it does'nt get enough exposure these days. Considering the size of Britain and our musical heritage it is surprising. Maybe it is record companies just not getting behind the artists anymore?

One thing is for sure though, Folk and Fringe music is still highly popular at Festivals such as Wychwood (half a mile away from me) and The Big Chill.

It's a shame really because although I am certainly no expert, I do like some Folk music and I would love to hear some new names but maybe i'm just not looking hard enough and am as guilty as the mainstream?
__________________

“A cynic by experience, a romantic by inclination and now a hero by necessity.”
jackhammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 03:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
Groupie
 
bathory_79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: B'ham, UK
Posts: 25
Default

Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit

listen to The Box, fantastic track seriously.
bathory_79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 06:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
The Sexual Intellectual
 
Urban Hat€monger ?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Somewhere cooler than you
Posts: 18,449
Default

I think the change in demographic for Radio 2 has a lot to do with the lack of British folk music.

Before Radio 2 was modernised you used to get tons of folk music , country , jazz & plenty of roots music being played on there all the time. But now it seems to want to target the post Radio 1 audience. The 30 somethings , which is why you get DJs like Steve Wright & Jonathan Ross basically playing the same playlist Radio 1 was playing 10/15 years ago.

There's no British folk music around because there is no major mainsteam outlet for it anymore.
__________________



Urb's RYM Stuff

Most people sell their soul to the devil, but the devil sells his soul to Nick Cave.
Urban Hat€monger ? is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2008, 07:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
Ba and Be.
 
jackhammer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: This Is England
Posts: 17,300
Default

I am becoming a one man fanboy for this man. John Martyn is now in a wheelchair but still performing. This is not misfortune. His left leg below the knee was amputated due to a burst cyst. John Martyn is an alcoholic who still has'nt remarried since his marriage ended in 1980 and fully accepts his drunken romanticism. Certain songs he plays bring tears to his eyes. This is ultimately what music is. Personal yet it speaks to many.

__________________

“A cynic by experience, a romantic by inclination and now a hero by necessity.”
jackhammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2008, 01:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
why bother?
 
Bulldog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 4,826
Default

I know it's not much of a contribution to this thread, but there's this Irish (I know, doesn't actually count as British) singer-songwriter who had a single out last year I think. Can't remember his name for the life of me though. I'll post a video if I can - it was a good enough song, no doubt about that
Bulldog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2008, 05:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
Forever young
 
4ZZZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 608
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackhammer View Post
Kate Rusby is an essential artist in British folk but yes there does seem a dearth in Great Folk these days. The trouble is , is that the market is so over saturated with American artists that some traditional artists seem to be struggling. It's not American bands doing this, merely the British buying public. I am sure there is great Folk out there but it does'nt get enough exposure these days. Considering the size of Britain and our musical heritage it is surprising. Maybe it is record companies just not getting behind the artists anymore?

One thing is for sure though, Folk and Fringe music is still highly popular at Festivals such as Wychwood (half a mile away from me) and The Big Chill.

It's a shame really because although I am certainly no expert, I do like some Folk music and I would love to hear some new names but maybe i'm just not looking hard enough and am as guilty as the mainstream?
American artists have certainly caught my attention for a good while now.
While thinking about this today and pondering your reply I have actually thought that the one thing that the artists in the Americana genre have going for them is a certain lack of embarrassment about the music that they produce and it tends to show. There is a positiveness about it. Even when they are morbid subjects and the presentation of the song shows that, there is a seemingly personal effort put into the song that marks this and maybe the public are perceiving this and enjoying it. Lets take for example the silly throwaway line that is thrown about not liking Country music because it is about the "dog running off with the wife in the truck" etc etc. The US artist seems to have no embarrassment about this and they will even promote it if you get what I mean. The item I posted implied that the "bearded ale drinker" was a twee embarrassment. This would be disappointing if this was the case. Using The Mountain Ash Band style of "bearded ale drinker" folk as an example I think that there is maybe an uncomfortable feeling about this kind of music and a few may actually hate it and be embarrassed. It was about the poor under class and that may just be an embarrassment to a more modern Britain that may see itself as more sophisticated. Just typing out loud and I could be way off the mark.

As to the part I have highlighted I am wondering of I am the same but do not know where to look but that item tends to imply an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Hatemonger View Post
I think the change in demographic for Radio 2 has a lot to do with the lack of British folk music.

Before Radio 2 was modernised you used to get tons of folk music , country , jazz & plenty of roots music being played on there all the time. But now it seems to want to target the post Radio 1 audience. The 30 somethings , which is why you get DJs like Steve Wright & Jonathan Ross basically playing the same playlist Radio 1 was playing 10/15 years ago.

There's no British folk music around because there is no major mainsteam outlet for it anymore.
On my last visit to the UK I travelled for a good couple of weeks and went from the deepest south to the north of Scotland. Had a great time except for the radio in the hire car. The only constant was Radio one. I may be wrong but it seemed to be the only station that we could keep on the dial where ever we travelled. The same few songs seemed to be on rotation permanently. We turned of for good after a while but I remember thinking that I could not put up with this if I was forced to listen to it day in day out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackhammer View Post
I am becoming a one man fanboy for this man. John Martyn is now in a wheelchair but still performing. This is not misfortune. His left leg below the knee was amputated due to a burst cyst. John Martyn is an alcoholic who still has'nt remarried since his marriage ended in 1980 and fully accepts his drunken romanticism. Certain songs he plays bring tears to his eyes. This is ultimately what music is. Personal yet it speaks to many.
I got two of his albums and have given them a couple of listens. Thanks for your advice. I have Bless the Weather and On The Cobbles. The first is a genuine English folk album with the later, Cobbles, being a more at times more rock and jazz in style. His voice has changed over the years. In context of the subject I prefer the early work but then with more listens I may change my opinion.
4ZZZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2008, 04:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
Ba and Be.
 
jackhammer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: This Is England
Posts: 17,300
Default

Your description of The Mountain Ash Band is spot on regarding the stereotypical view. A lot of Folk here is regarded with distain which is disheartening considering that we are on of the oldest nations on the planet and have a wealth of music and heritage.
__________________

“A cynic by experience, a romantic by inclination and now a hero by necessity.”
jackhammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2008, 03:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
Forever young
 
4ZZZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 608
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackhammer View Post
Kate Rusby is an essential artist in British folk
I have been listening. Impressive.
4ZZZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2008, 03:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
Audio Slave
 
billyjerome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 446
Default

http://www.musicbanter.com/new-releases-ratings-forum/34743-johnny-flynn-larum.html

Excellent debut. You should like this if you are a fan of The Kinks / Ray Davies.
__________________
billyjerome is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2019 Advameg, Inc.

SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2 ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.