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Who Gives a Folk?

In the very different political context of the 21st century, is folk music fulfilling its potential, or is it just another brand?


Folk, the people’s music, means many things to many people. Folk music often seems squeezed from above and below. Pop music, and the folk-fusions that follow in its wake, are seen by some purists as diluting the folk tradition. At the same time it seems that this ‘people’s culture’ is scorned by the cultural establishment. In the last few years, however, a revival of English folk music has seen a plethora of new folk styles sprout up, from nu-folk to twisted folk, from Bat for Lashes to Tunng and even twindie, a new generation seems to be giving folk new meaning and an unexpected lease of life. Has folk finally left behind its parochial, twee image?

Politics seems to be an essential part of the revival. From the Levellers’ Battle of the Beanfield to Clan Dyken’s ‘eco-folk’, have ‘new age’ subcultures and green politics helped to recover folk’s radical roots? Some hope a revived folk tradition might help create a more ‘radical’ English identity and heritage, an alternative to the flag-waving jingoism of Rule Britannia. Liberal peer Lord Redesdale wants to have 14,000 morris dancers at the 2012 Olympics. But is folk in danger of being co-opted and sanitised just as it seems to be reinvigorated? At the start of the 20th century progressive enthusiasts propagated the idea that folk music could reconnect ‘the people’ with their past, and with each other, and inspire a collective outlook. In the very different political context of the 21st century, is folk music fulfilling its potential, or is it just another brand?


Speaker(s):

Chris Wood | talks
Ivan Hewett | talks
Barb Jungr | talks
Abdul Rehman-Malik | talks
Eddy Lawrence | talks
Don Eales | talks
Cara Bleiman | talks
Neil Davenport | talks

 

Date and Time:

29 July 2008 at 7:00 pm

Duration:

2 hours

 

Venue:

Vibe Lounge
91 Brick Lane
London
E1 6QL


Show map

Organised by:

Institute of Ideas
See other talks organised by Institute of Ideas...

 

Tickets:

£7.50 (£5)

Available from:

http://www.instituteofideas.com/tickets/folk08.html
or call: 020 72699220

Additional Information:

www.battleofideas.org.uk

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