Folk music seems to be enjoying something of a popular revival of late, both locally and nationally, but did it ever really go away?
The art of the songwriter and troubadour is one of the oldest and most revered.
With the advancement of musical technology and the eternal drive for expression and confirmation, the “genre” has infiltrated many other music forms, and there’s good grounding to argue it is one of the true indigenous forms.
Either way folk is described as the music of the people, derived from the German “volk”, meaning “the people as a whole”.
With its roots in the first human musical compositions and campfire connotations, it runs deep within us as stories of life pass from one generation to the next. Some would argue that if you sing at all, by default you are a “folky”.
Now we get labels of “folk-punk”, “folk-rock” and even “folktronica”, but when you break it down, it’s all songwriting and expression.
I’m as astounded by a song with origin and age unknown as I am with a contemporary piece – if it’s got soul it’s good enough for me.
It’s also a clear and direct form of open communication between people, a window on the world mostly free of manipulation and agenda. Often focussing on struggle, it has sparked riots, changed laws and cultures and captured hearts and minds.
To that end it’s worth celebrating, and Lancaster has its very own folk club to do just that.
Tomorrow night, Friday June 6, Lancaster Folk Club present some of the best folk music the city has to offer, in the form of Dan Haywood, the Kilkawley Family, Alan and Lynne Hempton, Thistle and David Kelly.
The music starts at 9.30pm in the Dukes bar (entry is free) and follows a screening of Inside Llewyn Davis at the Dukes Cinema at 8pm, the Coen Brothers film about a folk singer struggling to get his big break in Greenwich Village during the Sixties. And if anyone can tell a good story about stories and storytelling, the Coen Brothers can.
By Nick Lakin