This blog will comprise a collection of ephemera, mess and miscellaneous artifacts reflecting on the writer's life.

Friday, February 10, 2006

music as material artefact

Opinion is divided on the subject of Folk Music.
Is it deeply retro, archived music which is totally irrelevant?
or is it a tranformative space of practice, still changing today?
This brilliant series has provoked some interesting reactions.
For those of you who missed it last Friday, you can tune in to your digital BBC 4 and watch it tonight.
It is brilliant.
It traces the history of English Folk music, from the skiffle songs originally from the deep South of America, by Leadbelly, above, through the Peggy Seeger, and all the sound archivists from the BBC who went round in little vans collecting songs.
This turned folk music into a kind of museum object, to be classified and organised.
Except it kept being played by real people, in pubs and clubs and being transformed and changed, combined with the blues, skiffle and the Irish fiddle music.
The programme described the work of:
... left-wing artists Ewan MacColl and Bert Lloyd. MacColl founded Britain's first modern folk club - The Ballad and Blues Club - and his groundbreaking Radio Ballads, which championed the working-class hero, were broadcast to unanimous acclaim.

But by the mid-1950s skiffle had captured the imagination of the nation's youth. Songs by American artists like Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie filled the airwaves

Folk music continues here and here.
Eliza Carthy is my favourite folk musician.
In her work, she transforms the sedimented folk songs into something new and different.
Rough Music is amazing.

What I like about her music is that you can trace the continuities and discontinuities from folk music through but also it is transformed in the process.
This is what we want to do with our narratives of migration project, look at continuities and discontinuities across diasporas and centuries, in people's use of artefacts and narratives.


cityB said...

I went to see Eliza + family in a church in Beckenham last year but she had had an asthma attack so couldn't make it. Her Mum and Dad were good though and I'm glad she's in the asthma club.

litrate said...

Jerry garcia was a folk singer.

Joolz said...

Gosh CityB you do get about. I wish I was in the asthma club. Then I could take ventolin freely, as you do.