Saturday, November 13, 2004

I have spend much time listening to traditional Scottish music while I have been living here. I have noticed some differences between American "folk" music and Scottish "Traditional" music that I think would be interesting for you to read. First, as I see American "folk" music as something that pretty much died when the sixties ended. Yes, if you watched the PBS special concert of folk musicians, you might have noticed that most of them were quiet old. There is not really a large amount of energy in it. I have not seen much movement in American "folk" music for quiet a while. In contrast, Scottish "traditional" music or as it is known here as "trad" (short a not a long a) music has more young people learning and participating in it than I have ever seen in the US. On a typical Sunday night at Sandy Bells, most of the musicians who play are under 30. There are a few older people but they are usually outnumbered by the younger crowd of musicians. This scene is replicated throughout Edinburgh's "trad" pubs. Techno/Dance places are generally more popular but I have never seen the kind of energy put into traditional music by the youth. This is even reflected in the government funding. Scottish Opera and "Classical" is in its death throws (they may close down next year) because most of the people want government funding to go into Scottish traditional music and for the most part they go to the traditional music shows rather than the more "high street" (as they say here) shows. I guess what I am trying to say is that music here is not a consumer item to be bought and sold unlike "Country and Western" music is at home. (as an aside why is it "Country and Western"? I hear more Rock in Seattle or on the West Coast than I ever hear "Country and Western". Hell Seattle is more "Western" than Montana so why in the hell is rock not "Western"?). In any case, this is getting long and boring so unlike American "folk" or "Country", Scottish "trad" is more alive and more "kickin'" than the more commercalized crap Nashville sends out every day or the moribund "folk" of the sixties.

posted by Chris  #10:41 PM | 0 comments |