10 December 2017

'Old time music' - a broad church and a big tent

The BIB editor writes:

An important point needs to be made about the First Annual Irish Old Time Appal-achian Music Gathering (to be held in Lisdoon-varna, Co. Clare, on 16-18 Feb. 2018) - a point that was omitted in the BIB feature of 4 December. The word 'Appalachian' should not be taken in any narrow or excluding sense. The organisers' first contact with the BIB explicitly stated:

We want to be inclusive in how we go about this event and how it develops.

This is just what the two main magazines of the old-time music community, Old Time Music (RIP) and The Old Time Herald (still with us), have always done, because 'old-time music' is a much more inclusive, wide-ranging, and (yes) vague label than 'bluegrass'. Both magazines are as serious about traditional Appalachian music as anyone could wish; but from the outset OTM went well beyond that to take in the whole range of commercially recorded 'hillbilly' music, western swing, cajun, country blues, and early bluegrass. OTH, with a similarly broad view, gives a lot of attention to dance and brings into the big tent the old-time music of other immigrant communities and other regions.

So if your fiddle tunes come from Texas, the Mid-West, or New England rather than Appalachia, or your banjo picking is up- rather than down-, don't hang back; the Gathering is meant to bring people together, not to separate them.

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