Sunday, May 13, 2007

Traditional American Folk ...

This Friday Shani and I played at Bury St Edmund's Folk Club, supporting an American duo - Sarah Grey and Kieron Means - who play Traditional American folk music. Kieron plays guitar and sings, Sarah (his mother) sings and plays banjo (plays concertina too I hear, though she didn't this night). Not actually the most 'suitable' act for us to support in some ways - we are, er, anything but 'traditional' (electric guitars? My goodness! Suprised some of the audience didn't faint.. no, I'm joking, honest), but we seemed to go down well enough.

The American folk music was interesting - what struck me most of all was the similarity in harmony structure: Kieron sang the same pattern harmony to Sarah's songs, and I wondered if that was the 'tradition'? His guitar technique was interesting - flailing like a banjo player (probably very typically American traditional too). But I'm no expert, I can't analyse the harmonies or the techniques, just observe and comment.

It was a good evening overall - I enjoyed performing, enjoyed seeing Sarah and Kieron and Terry, the club organiser. I do not have a hankering to go learn any traditional American tunes or songs now though (doesn't that sound odd - traditional American?). Though it was of interest, I was not that 'engaged' by the form (and I'm not a great lover of blues type music particularly).

Interestingly, Sarah has been working on a project tracing the roots of songs - let's face it music travels the world very quickly - can we truly be honest about the origins of tunes, even if words give us a sense of time and place? An example - I was at someone's house once and I heard the local radio playing Traditional Indian Music - and my goodness, it sounded very Celtic indeed. And Morris Dancing - so similar to the Hota in the South of Spain? Morris - Moorish - the Southern Spanish Gypsies were Indian, Southern Spain was Arab for many decades... Ah, we are all a mish mash.

The key to me is simple: good music, whether it be traditional, contemporary, classic ... I don't mind. But I do like a good lyric.

What a rambling this has turned in to - never mind! I'll post something less confusing soon.
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