Monday, August 28, 2006

British folk

BBC4 have been showing a series called Folk Britannia.

I've only seen one episode about the 60s scene - but that was pretty interesting in terms of Parchment influences

I never thought they should be compared with Steeleye Span or even Fairport, which specialised in using modern instruments to perform traditional songs.

Rather Parchment was one of those bands that used the folk medium as a base for a wider range of music.

The programme identified The Incredible String Band as having pioneered acid folk and that makes sense as Parchment performed Golden Game on Rehearsal for a Reunion. Golden Game is a traditional spiritual but the String Band used their own version of the words - and it was these words that Parchment also used for their highly praised acapella version.

Then on a week or two ago to the Sidmouth Folk Festival for a day as I was in Devon. It was a pleasant enough experience but tended to suggest to me that folk has stultified. It seems to be mainly about recreating the past rather than acting as a vibrant, creative medium in its own right.

I enjoyed watching the Red Square Balalaika and Domra Ensemble, from Devon, performing on the sea front. These are instruments from central Asia and eastern Europe and seem to be part of the mandolin family.

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