This is the first of a short series of occasional articles by Jed Stone, of Framlingham, half of the very popular duo Shadows in the Shade. There will be contributions from folkies from across the area over the next few weeks and if you would like to be involved and contribute contact address above. B.K.
It is difficult, looking back, to remember a time when folk music was not part of our diverse musical culture. In truth there has never been such a time, and it has always been there in one form or another. It was in the late 1960’s that the great ‘Folk Revival’ burst on our eardrums, and such names as Tommy Makem, The Clancy Brothers and Alex Campbell came to prominence becoming part of our everyday list of listening pleasure, and what had previously been a very small minority who listened to folk music began to swell into the vast numbers interested in its nuances and rhythms in the modern era.
I hope over the next few articles to explore the world of folk music and look at its impact on mainstream music at home and abroad. This musical journey will take us from the ‘finger in ear’ world where real ale and moleskin trousers abound in the back room of a local pub, to the glamour and glitter of the music festival. Many mainstream ‘artistes’ owe their style and tempo to folk. Indeed, many started out as folk musicians and took their first faltering steps to stardom by way of the backroom Caruso’s in the local pub or club.
By way of a definition folk music, broadly and historically speaking,stems from tradition and performed by people who were not professionals. However, in this commercial age, many performers earn their livelihood from this genre of music and as with many other traditions, the edges become blurred until the traditional becomes all but absorbed into the mainstream. The purists will have no truck with the modern world and strive valiantly but vainly to keep folk music ‘pure’. I say ‘vainly’ as there are many people who see the tradition in a very different light, always changing and somewhat ephemeral, moving with the times and thus maintaining its vibrancy and its identity.
When I started writing this article, I had no idea where it was going to end up or even how it was going to get there, but slowly it is taking shape and I look forward to taking you, dear reader, on my entirely personal view of folk music. Stick with it, it should be fun! J.S.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8 – THE SLACK FOLK. Piatto Cafe, Colchester. 2pm–4:30pm. Free. Chico and Dez, Josh Smith & Cloe Hawes, James Eastwood, Peter Kerr and poetry from Audrey McIver read by Angela Dennis. Contact Richard
Brazear 07850 773291
SUNDAY, AUGUST 9 – BURY
FOLK COLLECTIVE. Oakes Barn
BLACK FEN FOLK CLUB. Hot Numbers Cafe, Gwydir St., Cambridge. 7pm. Check before going.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12 – WOOLPIT. The Bull, P.H. Free. 8:00. Sing around in back room. First timers welcome as are old timers. Ask for John or Peter.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13 – HORNINGSEA FOLK CLUB. Plough and Fleece. 8pm-11pm. Contact Phil 01638 741743. Check before going.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 14 – LONG MELFORD. Melford folk. Cock and Bell. 8.30pm. Free. Everyone welcome, ‘anything goes’. Stage format.