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because it became inappropriate, music and arguably for valid to be achieved by musicians the difficult times which approach
anachronistic, or simply not very reasons, however nowadays it who, although well equipped us.
good! seems that traditional music is for entry to the showbiz scene,
hardly perceived as valid unless may not be ready for a more We hear a lot about the price of
We have to trust the tradition to arranged within an inch of its life! achievable ‘traditional’ (can I use oil, rising costs of all kinds, global
weed out what is no longer of We complicate what is basically the word?) and fairly secure future warming, emission controls etc.,
value, and to simply discard it. a simple music just as we now as a community musician; able to and a lot of folk are finding things
This has to apply to the current complicate our lives in other fields, play for a wedding, a dance or a financially difficult. There doesn’t
vogue for ‘self-penned’ songs such as the existence of 7000 birthday party? If the social side seem to be any fiscal stimulus for
and music too, of course - some mortgage products until recently... of the music is being addressed in musicians, does there? At difficult
will be remembered in a hundred and we all know what happened these music courses, I’d be glad times, concert going is bound to
years, most are best forgotten... there, don’t we? Or maybe it’s an to hear it, but it’s not generally be a lesser priority, and with this
that’s always been true. Books attempt to ‘improve’ the music so apparent in the ‘product’. Ability may come the resurgence of a
and manuscripts obviously have it’ll fit into some lesser category to handle an agent or manage a more localised scene. There are
value to the academic, but anyone of ‘serious’ music, and thus computer arrangement is no use if already signs of this, the open
involved in traditional music since acceptable to the ‘highheidyins’* you don’t know what to play for a style of ‘session’ (as opposed to
the 60s will know that some of the who handle grant aid? On an St Bernards Waltz, or choose the the closed circle, heads down and
material popular then has simply early Bob Davenport EP on the right key to accompany the local no smiling type) tends to be for a
faded from view - another instance Collector label, Reg Hall’s sleeve pub singer on ‘Danny Boy’. These local catchment area, and has the
of natural selection. Written notes argued that ‘Lily of Laguna’ are skills which emerge from great virtue of participation which
sources give equal value to sung in the public bar could be community experience and are is surely the essence of this music.
everything, and the researcher has ‘much more meaningful than Child skills which may be more useful in Maybe folk will see this as much
cheaper and more ‘green’ than
“Real music has a reason to exist – Jimmy
forking out money for tickets and
travel to see big stars many miles
away. We really have to start
making our own music and not be
Shand’s rhythmic playing was for dancing
misled by the agents and moguls
who have turned our music into a
pale reflection of the rock scene.
– but I’m still not sure what is the thinking
It’s all in our heads - we all know
of excellent performers who have
never made a CD, nor do they
behind the current vogue for traditional
have a website, but does that
mean they’re no good? No! But
it’s a sad fact that the media and
music ‘arrangements’.”
to assess as an individual every Number whatever it was in the folk
item he looks at. This assessment club upstairs’. That view for me,
is often carried out many years remains true in 2009. In short, it’s
after the material had been stored about integrity, and we lose that at
away by collectors and without our peril!
reference to the needs of the
tradition. As I write this the credit crunch
is in full swing. I do recall LT had
This comment is not intended some interesting views on its
to decry such research which is possible effects on our music as
very valuable academically and a result of this apparent disaster
some material has obviously been and purely in that context, maybe
accepted by the ‘revival’ after it’s no bad thing? It’s great that
being unearthed. However in my the music is getting to such a wide
case, and this is a personal view, audience these days, but it has
what has come to me by ear is led to an increasing obsession
infinitely more acceptable than with celebrity, all rather sad in a
what’s come to me from written music which never knew such
sources. Much of this is moribund a thing, but was always only a
and best left to the academics and part of something bigger, i.e.
in my view not to be inflicted on community!
unsuspecting ‘folkies’, or anyone
else, come to that. Real music Times have changed, I know, and
has a reason to exist - Jimmy the concert stage will continue
Shand’s rhythmic playing was to give a reasonable income for
for dancing - but I’m still not sure a minority, always a good thing
what is the thinking behind the for them, and it does give the
current vogue for traditional music commercial form of the music a
‘arrangements’. bit of exposure. With the credit
crunch and its consequences, we
Sean O Riada in the 60s was one do have to wonder exactly who
of the first to use arrangements is going to employ all the young
of traditional tunes as ‘art’ for virtuosos coming out of all these
theatrical purposes, notably in music degree courses. We’re
‘The Playboy of the Western back to the natural selection
World’. He did this at a time mentioned earlier I’m afraid, but
when he was close to the old high expectations are less likely
The Living Tradition - Page 29
Issue82.indd 29 24/2/09 13:57:00
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