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Old 09-02-2010, 12:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Folk Instrument Craze

Most of you have probably noticed the enormous revival of regional folk instruments that has come on the music scene recently. Every genre seems to be doing it, whether it's metal bands with hurdy gurdies, indie bands with banjos, pop artists with ukelele's, it seems folk instruments are making more of a name for themselves every day. I mean most of these instruments are quite legendary but it does seem that they are making their way more and more into the mainstream these days.
What do you guys think? Am I totally wrong and these instruments are getting just as much use as ever? Or are my observations correct? What sparked this craze? What effect is it having on the music world? Thoughts, opinions, comments, observations?
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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well it's with the fact folk has become a much more open genre in the past decade or so.

folk instruments making a comeback:
Banjo
Ukulele
Fiddle
Resonator/Dobro (it looks similar to a guitar)
Lute (sorta...)
Kazoo (listen to CocoRosie's "The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn")
Mandolin
Melodica
Accordion (listen to beirut)
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i think it's because younger generations strive to be different than their previous generation as a way of establishing their own identity regardless of how much gets rehashed.

what else was left about 10 years ago? we'd had alternative, shoegaze, industrial, hip hop, trip hop, downbeat, big beat, electroclash, post-almost-every-freaking-genre-that's-ever-existed come and go from the mainstream (over and under ground). so what was left? people could either break out of writing formulaic pop songs and dressing them up in the newest clothes but that would mean a paradigm shift in why most people approach making music in the first place and i'm not seeing that happening in modern society anytime soon. so the other option is to keep writing formulaic pop songs but dress them up in the oldest clothes possible.

if anything i think the soundtrack to 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' was a HUGE factor in introducing and displaying the potential that could be created with traditional acoustic instruments. it's not like there haven't been bluegrass virtuosos playing all over the continent at local fairs for the last century or so. it just wasn't trendy to listen to hillbilly music yet.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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People I've spoken with about it have usually said it was Alison Krauss and Union Station, Chris Thile, John Prine, or Joni Mitchell that made them take a second look...they're a handful of musicians who are into it and somewhat mainstream lately.
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