A Conversation for The Wonderful World of Folk Music

Folk music and politics

Post 1


I have observed that there has been a strong association in UK between folk music and politics, and in particular left wing politics. For example Euan McCall heavily involved in the 1960's folk revival was a member of the communist party, and Billy Bragg ( to my mind one of the prime movers behind the folk revival of today) who is also involved in left wing issues (read The Progressive Patriot).

Am I correct in this assumption or has there ever been a folk musician in the UK who is actively involved in right wing politics ?

Folk music and politics

Post 2

David Parker

What does it matter what political affilliations a folk singer or musician has? I am sure that Cecil Sharp or Vaughn Williams were not thinking politically when they were collecting the songs from the singers in the late 19th and early 20th century. I listen to, sing and play folk music and if anyone, in a folk music environment, was to ask my political affiliations I would not reply, although I do not think anyone would be interested enough to ask. I like the songs of Ewan McColl especially from the radio ballads and although I like them I do not share his communist views.

Folk music and politics

Post 3


Sharp and Vaughn Williams were pretty conservative politically, and have been accused of elitism.
Lembit Opik (Lib Dem MP and Cheeky Girl worrier) plays a mean harmonica and has been known to play in folk clubs, and one of the Tory front benchers (past or present - I can't remember his name unfortunately) regular played guitar on the folk circuit and apparently still dabbles.

Dunno about any BNP or NF folkies, but they're not human beings anyway (in my humble opinion).

I guess there is a 'left wing' slant in folk because of its links to working people, but Dulcimer Dave is right - it shouldn'talways be about politics, and lots of folk music simply tells cracking stories (see Seth Lakeman for more details, especiall Freedom Fields)

Right on , comrades

Folk music and politics

Post 4


folk music is left wing? no, not true. it appears to me that the diehard folk revivalists are reluctant to any change, and hence have a deeply engrained conservatism, which although not political in itself, certainly does not lend itself to leftist thinking. for an example of folk's conservatism, try and read about the birth of antifolk in new york - this was as a result of the general non-acceptance of the folk traditionalists to anything new or evolved. arguably billy bragg is as a result of this also, and should not be considered in any way representative of folk.

i also saw a BNP piece on the television, and a large part was a guy playing some traditional finger picking folk, and singing about ... well, their policies, basically.

Folk music and politics

Post 5


A great quote from Christy Moore when introducing a song on stage:
"You can say what you like about Margaret Thatcher but there were some great songs written during her reign". smiley - ok


Post 6


This post has been removed.

Folk music and politics

Post 7


Fair point. Let's just say that a lot of folk has a more, erm, 'anti-establishment' edge to it? Is that fair? Even if you go back to the older tradition, it tends to be the rich landowners who are painted as the bad guys (Matty Groves getting sliced up by Lord Donald, for example).

Folk music and politics

Post 8


A ceilidh band I know have been known to go on stage not talking to each other, the accordionist being right wing and the guitarist left.

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