folk music in this country ( just my opinion)

bentonThe other night I saw a vidAeo embedded in the website. It was a video of a Swiss TV show called “Viva Volksmusik”. It was a celebration of Swiss folk music. It was a wonderful show, even though it was in German, so I couldn’t follow the interviews or lyrics. But the music and playing was beautiful. One of the highlights was a competition of traditional folk music by kids. It was great to see kids take in interest in their countries musical heritage. All in all, a wonderful program.

I just wish people in this country would appreciate folk music. I know in America, Folk Music is regarded by many as the music of the McCoys and Hatfields, rotten teeth, Black Lung Disease, and Fathers/Daughters/Sons and Daughters marrying each other, but there is so much more to it than that.

American folk music reflects the history, events and emotions of the various regions of the country. From Cajun, to Bluegrass, to Spiritual, the music has a story behind it, and to me, is more heartfelt than other musical genres.

It has always been the music of the people, it has been the musical genre of hope; from the songs of struggles, but at the same time  hope for the future by slaves in the Antebellum South, to the depression era songs of Woodie Guthrie. The subject matter has ranged from War, to Civil Rights to being just plain funny. Today’s contemporary Folk Music has rich and varied melodies, (ie more than just 2 chords) heartfelt lyrics that is more than just the Pop genre fluff, and a high quality of playing of traditional instruments such as the banjo and fiddle that would impress the most die hard skeptic.

In short, American Folk Music is a hugely rich and varied genre that has so much to offer. It is a genre that is just as valid and important as any other kind of music out there, I and think that it is a real shame that it hasnt been exposed to kids; a potential tragedy in fact, if it somehow fades into extinction.

Most importantly, if people in this country would learn to appreciate Folk Music in this country, it would make it so much easier for these same people to appreciate the folk music of other countries.