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In addition to the opportunity for Whereas folk song performance song’. In this context, these songs production of ‘The Transports’.
the development of individual is essentially a solo art, theatre are very well received. Suddenly The cast were all local singers and
musical and performance skills, performance depends on the apparently archaic mode musicians. We were all stretched
and the confidence which arises people working together. Taking of ‘traditional’ song becomes by the technical requirements of
out of this, there is also the the songs to the stage brings involving rather than alienating.” the piece, but we did it. And, do
satisfaction to be derived from another group dynamic into play, you know what? It was great. We
achieving something difficult as the connection between the The move to a stage presentation enjoyed it. The audience enjoyed
a group. “In my experience, this performers and their audience. also has implications for standards it. And I was not the only cast
esprit-de-corps can waver during “The success of such shows of performance and presentation. member, I’m sure, who learned
the sometimes difficult process on the folk scene and, most “The uncommitted audience a lot through doing it. And this,
of development and rehearsal, importantly, beyond, suggests member is presented with a I think, is the real strength of this
but it is always restored by the that they have a strong appeal performance which needs to be genre. Performers learn and
challenge of performance and to audiences, and I think it is well structured and thoroughly develop through performing it,
the sense of achievement when the context of the drama which rehearsed in order to work. This, and audiences learn through
the show is over. This sense of explains this. This makes the let us be honest, is not always the seeing and hearing it.” q
case on ‘the folk scene’. I, as a
“The uncommitted audience member is
long time denizen of Planet Folk,
Mick Ryan is well known as a fine
like the spontaneous nature of
singer of traditional and original
material. Throughout the eighties
presented with a performance which needs to
much of what goes on there. Non-
folkies, though, tend to be less
he was seen at clubs and festivals
as lead singer with the very
be well structured and thoroughly rehearsed
accepting of what I have heard
referred to as rank amateurism,
popular “Crows”. Having written
and the thoroughly thought
both comic and serious songs
in order to work. This, let us be honest, is not
through folk opera gives such
for the band and having been
people a chance to see and hear
co-author of a stage musical
always the case on ‘the folk scene’.”
just how much can be achieved
performed at the Barbican in
by the real and original talent there
London (1987) and the lyrics for
achievement is intensified if the songs more meaningful for folkie is at all levels on the folk scene.”
a Radio 4 drama, Mick continued
show is taken out to festivals and non-folkie alike. I have
writing and singing after the band
and arts centres.” The Navvy’s performed these shows before This point is not lost on Mick who
split up in 1988. Subsequently he
Wife has joined other folk operas audiences who very obviously had experienced the positive
was author/co-author of songs for
such as The Transports and would not normally be seen at impact of folk opera in a folk club
the hugely popular folk musical ‘A
The Widows Uniform in being folk clubs or festivals and who environment. “Some time before
Tolpuddle Man’, this with Graham
recorded as a lasting mark of this have little or no experience of Graham’s ‘phone call in 1989,
Moore, with whom he formed an
achievement and has just been the concentration on the words I participated in ‘The Foc’sul’
acclaimed performing and writing
released on a double CD. demanded by what we call ‘folk (Southampton) Folk Club’s
partnership .
The Living Tradition - Page 27
Issue82.indd 27 24/2/09 13:56:56
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