This is a snip from my favorite “traditional music” blog. Ron and Donna are giants of the traditional music movement. In this post they are writing about Martin Carthy, a man who helped launch a traditionalist/folk revival in the 1960’s.
I am particularly taken by line…
“The older I have got, the more the songs have become three-dimensional. They’re not words set to pretty tunes. You are being told something about people. Things that are wicked, naughty, true, funny. About what human beings do to each other, and it never changes.
The sense that there is still more to discover from and learn about songs played for more than half a century rings is an insight that rings with truth.
Martin Carthy was interviewed by Ed Vulliamy of The Observer, a feature that ran Sunday 17 April 2011, on the occasion of Carthy’s approaching 70th birthday. We recommend that you read the interview but we would like to highlight without commentary a few worthwhile quotes:
“I regard tradition as progressive,” he says, “and a traditional song as a progressive force, because it is concerned with the continuity of things.”
[Traditional music] “is not an archive. If you see it as that, it becomes like a butterfly in a glass case. Folk music has to live and breathe. I’m not interested in heritage – this stuff is alive, we must claim it, use it.”
“That’s what folk music is: the intuitive nature of the whole thing among people who love messing about with stuff and coming up with something else to keep the continuity going; people who aren’t intimidated by how venerable it is. A song cannot survive if it is not being played – it is either played or it perishes.”
And, finally, a notable quote from the interviewer, Ed Vulliamy:
“Good folk music in general, and Martin Carthy’s songs in particular, are the antidote to, the diametric opposite of, our postmodern world of digital cacophony, crisis in concentration, library closures and hyper-materialist phantasmagoria. “