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Where's the Folk?

Posted on the 02 November 2011 by Notlobmusic @notlobmusic
"The whole singer-songwriter thing has blurred the lines...A person standing there with a guitar is not necessarily playing folk music, but they are presented as a folk musician..." 
-Geoff Muldaur
Once upon a time, Wendy's ran a commercial involving three women pondering a competitor's big fluffy bun which it turns out contained a very small beef patty. Clara Peller became famous for her line "where's the beef?".
Where's the folk?
The Boston Music Awards are once with us, and again give us reasons for pause.
Reason 1. Where's the folk?
Folk Artist Of The YearAntje DuvekotBanditasRose PolenzaniKris DelmhorstLori McKenna

These are very fine pop singer-songwriters who belong in the BMA's "singer-songwriter" category:
Singer Songwriter Of The YearAly Spaltro (Lady Lamb the Beekeeper)Antje DuvekotMarissa NadlerMike Fiore (Faces on Film)Rose Polenzani
(well, at least two of them are).


Reason #2: Where's the old-time? bluegrass? sea chanties????
The BMA's music award categories also include Americana, Blues, DJ, Electronic, Hip Hop, R&B/Soul/Urban Contemporary, International, Gospel/Inspirational, Jazz, Metal/Hardcore and Punk.  But Boston has very strong traditional folk, old-time, Celtic, bluegrass, sea chanty and contradance communities, where are their categories?  
To usurp the word "folk" by calling pop singer-songwriters such and not to include these genre in the award categories is a misuse of the word and a disservice to these communities. Before next year's program is planned, I encourage BMA to cooperate with organizations such as New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA), the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston (FSSGB), the Traditional Music Project, the Boston Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, NE Chantey Sings, and many other folk organizations in two areas: appropriate use of the word "folk" and creation of realistic, not contrived, folk music award categories.

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