Letter: Folk music deserves a wider audience

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The Independent Online
Sir: Thank you for acknowledging that folk music does exist ('The art of noise', 6 January). With the exception of world and foreign 'roots' music, there has seldom been any mention of a form of music that gives many people a chance to participate.

At a time when GCSE music aims to encourage participation in music making, most books for teachers seem to have a blind spot where folk music is concerned. The assumption is that children will either play classical music exclusively or pop/rock.

The Sixties 'folk revival' may have created an image of beer-strummers but a number of those responsible for making our own country's traditional music more popular are still widely regarded throughout the world. Their records are being re-released on CD and the popularity with people 'in the know' of their concerts at festivals makes it all the more strange that some record stores consign English folk music to the easy listening section of their displays.

Irish and Scottish traditional music does not fare so badly in this respect and, as your article indicated, there are many places in Britain where Irish music is played. There are also many pubs and folk clubs where other British traditions thrive.

I would welcome greater coverage of traditional music. It might encourage those who were put off making music at school to take the plunge and might open other people's eyes both to a real part of their heritage and to much that is unfamiliar and exciting.

Yours faithfully,



6 January

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