Thursday, October 10, 2013
Is folk music even possible anymore?
By “folk music,” I refer not to the diluted meaning of the term, where anyone with an acoustic guitar or a fiddle can be considered a folk musician. I’m talking about true folk music, songs that are created by and for a small, self-contained community, where musicians are performing for friends and neighbors in a style they all grew up with. These folk musicians don’t have to bring out the universal—or generic—elements in their songs because they’re not traveling to play for strangers.
A singer/songwriter who travels the continent with her banjo and Martin guitar is not a folk musician in this sense; she’s a pop musician with different instrumentation.
Himes' article is a good read on how mass media and the consumer culture impacts indiginous and organic art forms. He also warns that the "diminishing possibility of folk music" impoverishes popular culture. Himes thus defends popular artists that "play old styles the same way previous generations did," arguing that if those artists did not, "what [wells of musical tradition] would we drink from?" Himes writes, "When the teenagers in every Appalachian gas station and every Mississippi convenience store are wearing ear buds, can there be a region isolated enough to evolve its own mutated music?" Can there, indeed.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
From The Guardian (links added):
A recent concert in Paris has proven to have fallout for Madonna who is expected to be sued by France's Front National party for screening a video with an image of right wing politician Marine Le Pen with a swastika superimposed on her face.
The public insult cause of action in France made news recently when a French court convicted a government minister of the offense in May, fining him five euros for referring to ferry operators as crooks.
Le Pen had warned Madonna against using the image in France prior to the show, so Madonna likely made a calculated risk at her show in Paris last Saturday when she defied the warning. The story, however, is another reminder that rights Americans take for granted, like the right to free speech, generally extend only as far as our borders.