Friday, July 27, 2007

Cool as Folk

I grew up surrounded by music. Probably not in the way that famous musicians mean when they say they grew up around music, but the radio was always on, a record was playing, one or both of my parents were humming or whistling and idle tune, or someone was mercilessly banging on one instrument or another, whether or not they knew how to play it.

When the radio was on on Saturdays, it was Prairie Home Companion, probably my biggest exposure to folk. But my parents' appreciation for singer-songwriters was also in the mix: Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Paul Simon, Carly Simon, James Taylor, etc.

When I saw the ad for the Cambridge Folk Festival, I thought, "why not go?" (Well, that's a bit of a fib; there's a more specific reason that you'll hear about by the end of the weekend.) I coughed up more money than I'd like to admit for a full festival pass and have been working like crazy this week to free up my Thursday night and Friday. (I wasn't entirely successful, but that's another story.)

When I got to the festival on Thursday, I pondered what folk music looks like these days, and what it looks like in the U.K. I mean, Joan Baez is the headliner at this festival after all. In the U.S., it would be an Appalachian jug band, or perhaps a lone guitarist singing a war protest. (Wonder if that's changed since the 1970s. Sigh.)

At least on Thursday, this is what folk music in the U.K. looks like:

Breabach, at Cambridge Folk Festival from dceditors and Vimeo.
Dueling bagpipes. I LOVE it. That's it from me until late Sunday night; I'm off to the fair.

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