Issue 23 9/2002

The FolkWorld Editorial

By FolkWorld's Walkin' T;-)m

I think you are familiar with pop groups being designed on the drawing table and thrown into the music market. This hasn't been the case in the sphere of folk, world and roots music. Well, not yet.

Since Riverdance & Co the chancers got the hang of that there is even money to be made with folk and traditional music. Now a Dublin-based artist management company advertises to bring together young talented Irish folk singers and musicians worldwide to form a band that promises to be a major tour de force in the Irish and international folk music industry.

Candidates must have a high standard of musicianship in one or more instruments and a good repertoire and knowledge of Irish traditional music (that's different to the pop colleagues, indeed). Even an extroverted personality and above-average stage presence does no harm. But more important, candidates must be between 20 and 25 and in a good state of health, and must have a well-groomed and fashionable appearance.

God help us! Isn't it sad enough that you can order green stout in Irish theme pubs. No, now we are challenged with some plastic paddies. Even worse that this enterprise will probably be successful, I fear.

"You can't market folk and traditional the way you can push the average teen-band. Folk fans actually like to hear verses rather than endlessly repeated choruses, they aren't greatly impressed with over production, they like songs to be about real people, authentic events and a wider range of emotions than conventional pop is willing to tackle. You don't have to perform in your underwear and be super-naturally pretty to make a statement in traditional music." (Seán Laffey)

Do you see any connection with music at all? Did Shane MacGowan ever care about his tooths? Christy Moore about his hair cut? Or Ronnie Drew about his voice and accent?

"Suppose a local, lad here in Tipperary starts singing old songs from the 60's and 70's you can bet he'll be dismissed for aping someone's style. But take a bunch of good looking kids, package them, pour enough marketing money behind them and give them the same old material and they'll be hailed as wonderful artists. Then once they make huge money, the media court them with questions you'd hesitate to ask Plato. Wealth becomes equated with some form of spurious wisdom and the need to create trends in the music actually does nothing for the intrinsic qualities of the songs or the culture." (Ronnie Drew)

Frankly speaking, I wish them no success at all. Rather I'm looking forward to all those CDs and demo tapes which say `we're in it for the sake of music.' That said, you're invited to browse through our pages and I hope you will find the real stuff.

We try to become better all the time, of course, to make this the folk site of your choice. Regretfully, we are buried under stacks of CDs etc. at the time. So sometimes something has to wait. We apologize. But you can visit our preview page (-> to find out what's in the pipeline.

Finally, the next issue is not only Number 24 but our 5th Birthday Edition as well. Yes, folks, we're now finished with kindergarten and start going to school. The big birthday party takes place on 1 November in Muenster, Germany, where we will have some fine music, a few pints and great crack altogether (-> I hope to see one or another.

Keep on folking, T:-)M

Back to FolkWorld Nr. 23


© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 9/2002

All material published in FolkWorld is © The Author via FolkWorld. Storage for private use is allowed and welcome. Reviews and extracts of up to 200 words may be freely quoted and reproduced, if source and author are acknowledged. For any other reproduction please ask the Editors for permission.

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