mirrorshard: (Default)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
While I was looking around for some folk lyrics, I found this interesting FT article on folk music and constructions of Englishness, focusing on Show of Hands and their song Roots.

Attempts to write English national songs tend to founder on the question of conservatism: does English identity mean no more than an insistence that nothing should ever change?

Well, obviously the answer to that is "no", but I think there are some interesting questions about moving forwards involved. They're basically not in favour of SoH's approach, but I think that ignores one of the most important strands of folk history & practice, which is the protest song.

Date: 2009-06-12 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
Oooh, interesting!

Are you aware of Andrew King at all?

Date: 2009-06-15 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
Aha ha, remind me to tell you more about him when I'm awake. He's playing a gig in London soon, if you fancy checking him out? Won't be insanely expensive, it's only a little place.

Short description: traditional music nerd, currently doing a PhD about same, sings very interesting versions of trad. arrs. and straddles the boundaries between trad folk and neo folk scenes, performing at both such events. Sings with mininal backing. I also like his musical arrangement of Housman poems. Is also a really nice dude, based on the times I've met him!

Date: 2009-06-15 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
Sounds really interesting, if I'm not going to be busy!

Date: 2009-06-15 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] friend-of-tofu.livejournal.com
Will try and dig out date for you. Collapsey now.

Date: 2009-06-14 05:46 pm (UTC)
ext_78940: (Default)
From: [identity profile] yoyoangel.livejournal.com
Interesting article.
Given that, as you say, protest songs form an important part of the English folk tradition, it's interesting that the article gives Billy Bragg's Half English as a contrast to Roots, when in many ways they fall into the same sub-category of folk and have, at least partly, the same message.

Date: 2009-06-14 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com
Mm, it is. I did see someone else, on a random mudcat thread I found googling around, talking about SoH's "negative message" (later paraphrased as "whinging" - but they're not whinging, they're bloody pissed off) compared to Bragg. I'm almost tempted to say that for the FT at least, it's because Bragg's an Establishment figure.

What Roots reminds me of most of all is Skyclad's Penny Dreadful (http://www.lyricsdownload.com/skyclad-penny-dreadful-lyrics.html).

Date: 2009-06-14 06:59 pm (UTC)
ext_78940: (Default)
From: [identity profile] yoyoangel.livejournal.com
Yes, I see what you mean.
I think maybe the 'negative message'/'whinging' accusation could be partly because they protest about several different things in the same song (but I haven't read the mudcat thread), but I think that's a reasonable thing to do in the context of the song and the chorus. Bragg covers the issue but without going into specifics as much. He has the income, status, etc. to take time off and write a book about the specifics instead of putting them in a song.

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