The Essence of Folk Music

By Patricia Dalton

Folk music is the bread and the beer of music; the tea and the flavor of a culture.  It is “kneaded” by everyone, do-it-yourself, steeped in nationalism, and fermented over time. 

Facing the Challenges of our Lives

Folk music helps us face the challenges of our lives at the most mundane and the loftiest levels; it is a delightfully articulate mechanism available to each and every single person in society with which they can release their deepest emotions and sing their most serious thoughts.  The music comes from the earth, from work, from yielding or starving, from grief and from joy, from fighting or from living out your days in peace with your family.                                                                

Folk Music Mirrors Society

Bards and troubadours, journeymen and artisans, folk musicians do their share of the world’s spiritual heavy lifting, and yet they are wonderfully practical and materialistic.  Poets and mirrors of society, they remind us, while providing that wonderful triumph and joy that comes from sharing music, that we can do it ourselves.  We can stand up to the challenges we face when we are not sitting around the bonfire amongst compatriots and friends.

Addressing our Fundamental Needs

Folk musicians address our most fundamental needs and give voice to how we cope with our most intimate disasters; they speak to our relationship with the universe and to how we survive.  They remind us that we are not alone, with neither our problems nor our solutions.  We all need to eat; we all spice our food with whatever we can grow or find.  Folk musicians bring us the stories and the seasonings from wherever they have been; they bring us the yeasts of the world and the maps.

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