Pride & Passion
Recently we have sensed a growth in confidence in English folk music both in terms of live events and recorded music.
Pride and confidence are important factors on display when Scots and Irish music travels the world but it appeared to us that in England for a time the tag 'folk music' or 'folk musician' was one some musicians tried to avoid. They were being told that folk music was not relevant any more - they had to progress. We see signs of a growing confidence in the English folk scene. The tradition clearly continues, soon we may all be sporting 'Proud to be a Folky' badges!
This current issue happens to have a significant English content - that's just the way it turned out! We are often 'accused' of being a Scottish magazine. Nothing wrong with that, we are proud of it, but if you look at the content you will see that our coverage is broader. We don't draw lines at borders and are committed to being the magazine of the folk scene of these islands (with a healthy interest in related cultures.) Of course we have a special place in our hearts for Scottish traditional music but like anything good, it shines brighter in the company of something contrasting but equally valuable.
The folk scene in the UK has always been open to English, Irish, Scottish music and more. To date Wales hasn't been well represented. It wasn't too many years ago that a session in Scotland would be based around the repertoire of the early Chieftains LPs. Later, inspired by Irish music, Scots musicians looked to their own roots. This pattern has since been repeated throughout Europe.
Something is definitely happening in Wales. Those who live there might tell us it has been happening for some time, but it wasn't reaching outside ears easily. Perhaps '97 will be a watershed year for them.
We cannot cover the traditional music of the world and we don't subscribe to the view that 'everything is folk music - I ain't ever heard a horse sing'. What we have done is nailed our colours to the mast - proud to have the tag of 'folk', 'traditional', 'celtic', etc., applied to us. We haven't drawn our boundaries too tightly but we know what we mean by our use of these terms. After 20+ issues of 'The Living Tradition' you will have a good idea of what we mean as well. We feel there are exciting times ahead.
We are genuinely thrilled and heartened to hear how Nic is doing. Fifteen years on from his accident he remains a major figure on the UK scene, not by his presence, but by his influence as a musician and singer, by his inspiration and by the respect people so clearly have for him. (Listen to The Voice Squad introducing 'Annan Waters', for instance.)
Like many people, we claimed to know Nic, but in reality it was only at a fairly superficial level. Many will have lost touch with Nic and have found it hard to re-establish contact. We are not suggesting that you all rush down to see him but sure you will be heartened to know that he is still Nic Jones, will still remember you and is enjoying life. P.S. Can we also hint that there is more good news to come. Watch this space.
PP.S. More good news has come. Check out Issue 28