Posted By Learphol on 29 Jan 2007 10:01 AM
What role, in such a commercial environment, does the music of our country have to today’s recording artists? Irish music, taking many guises including folk, traditional, country, rock and more recently ‘indie’, has enjoyed great success stemming from an upsurge in interest over the past 40 years, using the facilities of an international market.
Many artists can claim to draw from the rich tradition of Irish music, but those who have been most successful have all conformed to the demands of the recording industry, turning their music into a commodity. Is this the only way to make music? Generations of singers and musicians in Ireland passed down their songs, which were in turn developed and heard by many.
This is the tradition from which artists like The Chieftans, Planxty, (to name very few) and more recently Damien Dempsey (and the many 'singer song writers' who have emerged in Ireland over the past decade) draw from, but they rely on the infrastructure of an international industry to mediate their music.
For this reason, these modern interpretations could be said to be less authentic than songs that have developed in an oral tradition, even though they deal with many of the same themes as their ‘predecessors’. Can folk-influenced music be included as part of the tradition, or is it just another genre ‘popular music’ competing for shelf space?
Learpholl, don't take it so personally! I reckon people didn't take up on your original post because (for me, at least) your point(s)/question(s) weren't very clear (is it the abstract for a thesis?) and aren't very controversial or debate-provoking. I mean:
"What role, in such a commercial environment, does the music of our country have to today’s recording artists?" - it either influences them or it doesn't! Yes for The Corrs, Enya, Damo Dempsey...
"Is this (turning your music into a commodity) the only way to make music?"
- no, but it's probably the other way to SELL music!
"Can folk-influenced music be included as part of the tradition, or is it just another genre ‘popular music’ competing for shelf space?" - yes, if it sounds like folk music, and yes, it's a genre called 'folk'!
What I think you were trying to argue in your post (and, as I said, it wasn't easy to find your point or why it excites you enough to start a debate on it) was: are folk/traditional musicians somehow "less authentic" (your words) as folk/traditional acts because they get involved with marketing and record companies?
Personally, as soon as people start using words like "authentic" to talk about music, I just run a mile in the other direction - usually towards people who prefer to use words like "enjoyable", "exciting" and "thrilling" and who couldn't care less about whether an artist is selling out or inauthentic as long as they make music I like.