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Rees

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2012, 11:46:03 PM »

I feel extremely privileged at the age of 61 to be playing in a band where the other three members are under 26. It means a great deal to me, not as an old git playing with fresh young musicians to make me look good, but as a further adventure into roots music.

It also helps that they can remember the tunes (especially the ones that I composed)  ::)
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Matthew B

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2012, 04:37:17 AM »

Theo, Clive, Squeezy, and the other melnet contributors and admins deserve some significant credit here as well.  This site has provided resources for many of us to learn, discuss, and explore our instrument(s) the music we play, and the traditions within which it exists.  The "tribe" that has evolved here has provided me with an enormous amount of encouragement and support, and has really transformed my understanding of the music.  Over the years I've been a member I've seen all sorts and conditions of players roll up here and find something worthwhile, whether it be advice for the novice, a new tune, a suggested "fix" for a mechanical problem, safe haven from a melodeon-weary partner, some stunning and arcane theoretical insight, or some other essential support and encouragement.

I've made good friends here, and so learned a lot of tunes the old way, by sitting and listening to someone play.  I know from many of the contributions that others have also met up and swapped music.  Many of the people active here are also active members of thriving musical communities, where they regularly perform, teach, and learn.  Some, like Strad are "Old School", sitting in a pub somewhere cranking it out.  Some, like Liam Robinson, are also educators in more formal settings.  Some, like Ollie, are now formalizing what started in less structured settings.

And some are off doing something else entirely . . .

All in all very encouraging, and a sign of a thriving tradition, I'd say.       
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2012, 07:27:35 AM »

One of my charities is the East Anglia Trad music trust but I wouldn't call myself 'active' at this distance! However EATMT are very good, active, and well worth a visit if you're down that way.
Chris - thanks for mentioning the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust. As a tutor, I've been closely connected with EATMT for the last 10 years or so and I am always impressed by the sheer scale of what the Trust achieves in promoting traditional music, dancing and singing in East Anglia.

Do check out their website, everyone.
http://www.eatmt.org.uk/
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Daddy Long Les

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2012, 07:31:43 AM »

I teach in primary schools in the South East.  Since taking up the box and the er....... banjo,  I've been using them extensively in school with my choirs and bands.  The kids absolutely love it when we sing trad folk stuff alongside all the pop and rock stuff.  They think it's very cool!!!
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2012, 07:46:33 AM »

Oh, and there's an excellent UK based website to promote and foster playing of (mainly trad) music from these Isles and across the World. Their main interest is diasonic  free-reed aerophone instruments, but the organisers try to be flexible and you'll see the european monosonics occasionally, even the odd song. For the past three years it has promoted the systematic learning of tunes on a monthly basis, with over 10,000 contributions to that section alone.  :|glug
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ladydetemps

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2012, 09:18:47 AM »

Having thought about it over night I realize it may not be formal but there is a passing of a tradition of sorts. On most saturdays Deborah (a melnet member) runs a friendly session of a handful of people at her house. Is always happy to pass on tunes and little bits of information or tips. Its not about showing off or performance its about mutual learning. She even puts up with me requesting to play tunes that aren't her favorite. And most importantly there's tea & biscuits. ;)

Marje

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2012, 12:37:16 PM »

Looking at all the replies so far, it seems to me that although the original question was about Great Britain, we're referring largely to England. Scotland has its own methods and priorities, and they are probably more similar to Ireland's than to England's, but they don't get much of a look-in here, as the melodeon is not widely played north of the border.

In England, looking at what's being said, there's an awful lot going on to promote and hand on traditional music, song and dance to the young, but it is perhaps less organised and systematic than in some other cultures e.g. Ireland. There are various organised events such as competitions and opportunities for instruction, but they depend partly on regional priorities and culture, and also rely heavily on voluntary effort.

There may be all sorts of reasons why it appears somewhat fragmented and patchy. One is that English culture is very varied, and certain regions such as the north-east have their own distinctive traditions which are quite different from other areas. Another is the long tradition in England of voluntary participation in amateur music making (and other leisure interests) which often extends to teaching and other forms of promotion, but is not necessarily documented or standardised in any way. The third, more quirky and debatable, reason is that many who are involved in English folk culture actually prefer to be outside the establishment and are suspicious of official attempts to get them organised. Of course there is the EFDSS and various regional folk arts organisations such as Folkworks and Folk South West, but despite their valuable work, much of what goes on in folk music, song and dance is not directly affected by them, and just happens according to the wishes and whims of those taking part. Younger people are now using Facebook to set up and keep in touch with local folk events in a way that's not been possible before, and it's not really possible for others to gauge the extent and level of their interest.

Just my summing-up so far, but keep the thoughts coming, it's interesting!

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malcolmbebb

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2012, 12:53:04 PM »

Yes, I think you really need to treat England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland separately.

It is fair to say that there is an awful lot going on in each country to promote its folk culture, but one often feels that in England it survives in spite of the "establishment", whereas in the other countries it receives a lot more central support.

I rather feel that support from government (with a small g) would really be very welcome, but - perhaps due to a long history of indifference at best, and often disdain - many would feel that government (small g again) couldn't be trusted with our folk heritage even if it knew enough to know where to start trying.
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Lyn

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2012, 02:17:46 PM »

I think it's on topic to relate that Ive recently had some email correspondence with Bob Shennan, the guy famous for being responsible for removing Mike Harding from his post.Though Writing in support of Mike's knowledge and expertise in the folk-world, I was keen to stress the responsibility of the BBC to entertain and educate the poeple of Britain about its own traditions and musical culture. Whilst taking on board Marje's point that a lot of folkies are happy to remain outside the mainstream, we allow folk to be side-lined at our peril. Other countries are happy to embrace their musical roots and see no disparity with it and main stream music.

His reply in the main suggested that the BBC has increased the radio exposure of folk music exponentially over the past few years and will continue to do so. We should be monitoring carefully but most of all....be getting out there and DOING it! As all good Mel.netters surely are.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2012, 04:21:18 PM »

Agree - somehow in England we've allowed Sociaty to regard it as a source of mirth. Guess I'm as guilty as any :|bl

My other main expereince is France - I wouldn't say the scene there was any bigger than here. And you also meet the same faces as you go round the festivals. Very similar really.   :|glug
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Bobtheboat

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2012, 05:19:20 PM »

It'd be great if the 'boombal' thing from Belgium caught on with the young 'uns over here too. Then I could learn all those dances too!
Are any melnetters members of Stone Monkeys rapper? I've been vaguely thinking I might like to have a go and I think they're my nearest group. Bob
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2012, 05:43:17 PM »

Learning curve, Bob. You go to Boombal and they spend the hour or so before it teaching scottiche.  Next month it'll be mazurka, or gavotte. April might come back to sottiche again - but you can arrive an hour later as you've mastered that,  and also practiced it at three bals.  And probably got some regular partners in the process  ;)

Contrast that with English Country Dance: 10-15 dreary minutes "walking through" some Byzantine sequence of "figures". Even if it's Winster Gallop - done 30 times before - we have to do it.  "the set in the corner haven't quite got it" "every on back to original places" "just once more for set 3, please" "every on back to original places". When the music does finally start .. you commonly walk rather than dance.  In many dances you don't move at all  half the time!

A Boombal might do 25 different tunes covering 5-6 styles of dance - all "straight in".  We'd manage 12-15 with the rest of the time figure-skating in shoes or simply standing still. Not sure I could sell this to a 20 year old.  :|glug
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2012, 08:52:24 PM »

As some have touched on, we as a nation do not treasure our cultural heritage so therefore see little value in supporting it.
Having sat through a few of Roy Dommett's lectures between the dancing in his instructionals he has always put forward a sensible argument as to why.
There is evidence that the class system put pressure on village bands, bringing in organs and such in church and starting to suppress the traditional music. This  time coincides with the loss of the support from the landed gentry of such things as supporting 'their' morris side. With the early 1900's and WWI came the minstrel troups from the US and the Big Bands in the WWII era. We've always looked forward and never looked to what we had, which is why we only just started playing English music again in the 1970's and are just about rediscovering what we'd lost.
Compare this to other nations mentioned, they haven't had the waves of often US lead music sweeping through or the suppression of the indiginous cultures but have treasured their own culture, and see nothing wrong in teaching things, accepting 'traditional' music as part of the main stream etc. etc.

What I am reassured about is that we are passing things down through the dancing families and their friends. My two daughters are now dancing and that's the reason I've now had the pleasure of meeting Ollie and listening to him play in the flesh. Their side consists of  talented musicians and dancers, and they meet other similar like minded young at festivals. It is wonderfully vibrant and fresh.
There are  good dancers coming through wanting to improve on what they've seen from us old sods...... someone *is* carry the torch on!
Yay! I am genuinely so pleased.

.....but all these things are more from grass roots word of mouth teaching, nothing formal and little teaching outside of festivals, except occasional teaching organisations as mentioned above and the morris club system. We've lost so much, but hopefully that is being reversed by a new lot coming through. I wish them well and will do what I can to help................
Q



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MartinW

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2012, 09:54:43 PM »

An old friend of mine used to say that folk music thrived best in two circumstances. First when there was a lot of official support and backing, such as in parts of the old Soviet bloc. Second in smaller nations that had experienced a degree of oppression, suppression, domination or such like,by a larger/richer/more powerful nations. This could be said to apply to Scotland and Ireland, and to some other nations and regions in Europe. He said that the problem for folk music in England was that we had had not had such a dose of outside domination since the Norman conquest.

I was not totally convinced, but it is a good starting point for an argument a discussion.
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AirTime

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2012, 10:50:23 PM »

My theory:

England was the first country to be industrialized & therefore the first to lose it's attachment to a traditional rural lifestyle. I think countries like Italy, France & Spain had a much greater connection to rural life well into the 1970's.

At the time this industrialization was taking place, England was the dominant world power & in general, the English were not concerned with protecting a threatened or oppressed indigenous culture in the way that people might have been in countries like Ireland.

From the 1960's on, English "youth culture" flourished - pop music became the most distinctive & influential expression of English culture, at home & abroad.

Looking at North America, areas where traditional music survived most strongly were areas that were culturally isolated &/or poor: Cajun music in Louisiana, Quebec folk music, Appalachian music & Mississippi Delta (& Chicago) blues.

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Rees

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2012, 11:12:25 PM »

........ and a very good theory it is, too.

East Anglia, Dartmoor, Cornwall, parts of Northumberland, Cumberland and Yorkshire, most of Mid-Wales and parts of The Welsh Borders are all un-industrialised areas and good places to find the real thing.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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AirTime

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2012, 02:21:01 AM »

Would there be any equivalent in England of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah_Vat0FMdg

a massive sense of identification with a national musical tradition*?

In England it would be a song by the Beatles, or the Who, or Oasis or something, no?  In a sense, pop music has become the "folk music" of England.



*Yes, I know it's not actually a traditional tune!
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Ollie

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2012, 03:32:26 AM »

I'm quite glad that the English folk scene hasn't followed the path of the Irish and Scottish scenes. This is only my personal opinion, but I think that organisations like Comhaltas and Scottish pipe, fiddle and accordion bands are responsible for fossilising, stagnating and halting the natural evolution of folk music. In Ireland and Scotland, many youngsters are taught folk music from an early age; that's great. However, they are taught in a particular style, and there are competitions and graded exams; there is little personal flair. Many young players sound very samey, and are playing in a style that was collected, and then fossilised, from traditional musicians. There has in the past been resistance to change, which is the worst possible thing that could happen.

This may not be a popular opinion, but I believe in some cases, we are headed down the same path in this country, particularly with the Folkworks courses (I only really have knowledge of the courses for young people) and the Newcastle University Folk degree. Many, many young players that are coming out of both of these organisations (many from Folkworks into the Folk degree) sound very, very similar. There is a 'Folkworks sound'. Many players using the same ornamentation, 'interesting' rhythmic changes in pieces, and often playing the same sorts of tunes (usually fast with little thought of musicality). It's hard to tell one player from the other, or indeed one band from another. I know from several people that there is a lot of resistance to styles outside of this on the degree course, which is incredibly stagnating and exactly the wrong thing to do. Don't get me wrong, there are some great players out there who are exceptions to the rule, but this idea of teaching people, especially young people, folk music in a particular style sits uneasy with me. All the great players take their influences from several different styles and mould them together to create their own. Very little of this is happening with some potentially great musicians, both in England and other parts of the UK.
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Lester

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2012, 09:10:42 AM »

I'm quite glad that the English folk scene hasn't followed the path of the Irish and Scottish scenes. This is only my personal opinion, but I think that organisations like Comhaltas and Scottish pipe, fiddle and accordion bands are responsible for fossilising, stagnating and halting the natural evolution of folk music. In Ireland and Scotland, many youngsters are taught folk music from an early age; that's great. However, they are taught in a particular style, and there are competitions and graded exams; there is little personal flair. Many young players sound very samey, and are playing in a style that was collected, and then fossilised, from traditional musicians. There has in the past been resistance to change, which is the worst possible thing that could happen.

This may not be a popular opinion, but I believe in some cases, we are headed down the same path in this country, particularly with the Folkworks courses (I only really have knowledge of the courses for young people) and the Newcastle University Folk degree. Many, many young players that are coming out of both of these organisations (many from Folkworks into the Folk degree) sound very, very similar. There is a 'Folkworks sound'. Many players using the same ornamentation, 'interesting' rhythmic changes in pieces, and often playing the same sorts of tunes (usually fast with little thought of musicality). It's hard to tell one player from the other, or indeed one band from another. I know from several people that there is a lot of resistance to styles outside of this on the degree course, which is incredibly stagnating and exactly the wrong thing to do. Don't get me wrong, there are some great players out there who are exceptions to the rule, but this idea of teaching people, especially young people, folk music in a particular style sits uneasy with me. All the great players take their influences from several different styles and mould them together to create their own. Very little of this is happening with some potentially great musicians, both in England and other parts of the UK.

Wish I had said that  (:)

Chris Ryall

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Re: Passing on the tradition.
« Reply #39 on: November 09, 2012, 09:57:38 AM »

My wife had the same experience at Newcastle (other university) Art School. You either went along with the style of the 'tutors' or got a third class degree. Sadly the 'professor' was into squares of solid colour - not all that challenging really? Basically they need a bit more 'equality and diversity', and rather less arrogance.

Well said, Ollie - hope this doesn't apply in Sheffield. btw ... is there anything on on sunday  ;)
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