“Folk is only for old folk” ... a less than tolerant view

(July 04, 2011)

“Folk is only for old folk ... don't you agree?”

What a lot of steaming rot!

‘Folk’ is – music for ‘folk’ no matter what their age - just that, and it always has been. And I would wager last month’s money that there is a large band of young folk artists out there that would take great pleasure in correcting that point of view. To be honest, I thought that kind of comment had vanished with the Arran woolly wearing, weird beards with a finger in the ear braying out 57 verses of Sir Patrick Spens in the folk clubs of the early seventies. And in the main it probably has but much like ‘Punk’ the word ‘Folk’ still carries some of its ancient, erroneous and misconceived connotations.

Are we then are own worst enemies?

Surely those of us that live in the ‘folk’ world both young and old, should have told enough folk about folk to eliminate that sort of blinkered bigotry. Are we not carrying the banner high enough or telling the tale loud enough? Or are we simply talking to the same select few (within the boundaries of our world) and missing the filthy unwashed?

Perhaps it’s because folk has roots in tradition, even though there are now a plethora of wide and varied branches springing from those roots. That may be true, because in today’s ‘last-minute’ fad society there is disposable music based on nothing more than fifteen seconds of history coming from all sides. That goes hand in hand with throwaway celebrity status where the ‘how you do it’ is more important than ‘what you do’ – that and the fact that such vacuous celebrities often appear to be straight out of school.

“If it ain’t new it ain’t worth nothin’ at all”

Oh please. Unfortunately, this is a common view engendered by the same culture-controlling media that serves people a mess of musical pap that requires no thought, no attention and no interaction. Unless of course you describe leaping up and down in a foam filled room, soaked in sweat and goodness knows what else ‘interaction’.

Perhaps I have lived for 60 years on this planet to find that I am out of synch with that vast majority of its media. That includes those who control it and those who are suckered by it into a world where they literally cannot see the exploitation that surrounds them. If it were not the case, then remarks such as those that sparked this article could not exist.

Bring on the folk fanatics

Become zealots. Broadcast our traditions and the immediate innovations that pervade folk music. Come out of the shadows. Gain a voice. Push folk in the faces of those that serve up mediocre music. And the next time someone comes out with a remark like that be prepared to educate them - loudly and strongly. I am.

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