Nobody cares about Folk musicOctober, 14, 2013
What I love about folk music is the fact that it tells a story. I mean, yes, all music tells a story. Like Danse Macabre, for example, which is one of the best pieces of music ever composed (in my opinion). It tells the story of Death who goes round to loads of graveyards on Halloween and re-animates the skeletons.
Most modern music is based around the theme of love and the protagonist losing their partner (or wanting to do unspeakable things to them). But putting aside any moral or ethical issues I have about that, my main problem with modern music is this:
We have enough works of Art (note that “Art” in this sense means “the Arts”, encompassing music, literature, art, architecture, etc) about love and sex already to last the human race for millennia to come. There are new adaptations of Romeo and Juliet every day, and there are hipsters all over Tumblr writing quotes from old poets on paint charts and then running them through every filter on Instagram – but it’s not new. We have, ingrained in our culture, our thoughts and feelings on love in every single Art form known to man.
But nobody is writing about the real issues. About hunger and poverty and death and injustice. You don’t catch Justin Bieber singing about the Holocaust. Instead, he hopes Anne Frank would have been a fan.
Folk music says it all really. People music. Music by the people, about the people, for the people, with the people. It’s welcoming music – I know that I can walk in to a folk club with my banjo and not be alienated due to my gender, age, race, colour, or religion. Folk music is for everyone, whether you’re living on the street and singing songs in the hope that you can eat tonight, or if you’re in a band and touring the world with the same songs.
Folk music has stood the test of time. Some tunes are from the 8th century – I’d like to see any of today’s music last for 1300 years.
Folk music deals with important issues. Take The Yankee Sailor by Great Big Sea. Yes it’s about love and betrayal, but it’s also about the war and it’s effect on the ordinary people, as well as sharing a piece of the history of Newfoundland. And Darcy’s Donkey by Gaelic Storm is a light hearted take on prohibition in America.
These are real things. They happened. And they changed the course of history.
I doubt Bieber has the power to do that.
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