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Folk music originated in England in 1837, and is largely credited to the town of Witney near Oxford. Following a poor harvest, it was decided by locals to set up a music festival, to help cheer up the towns folk. The locals invited The King of England, King George the Turd, and he decreed the festival to be music for the 'olde townes folke'. Hence the term folk music was born.
Folk Music Spreads
By 1850, every town in Britain had it's own folk singers, and players and the term folk group was first coined.
Folk music is mainly played by those who live in forests. The story goes that each night, at midnight, if you go into a forest you will see many folk musicians dancing around a small fire, playing amongst the tree elves. These tree elves are also known as tree folk which is another reason for why folk music got its name. I strongly advise that you do not enter the enchanted woods where "folkists" live as, like gypsies, they know curses. The most popular folk curse is done by playing the flute and the guitar simultaneously while standing on one leg and reciting 13th century poetry. This will cause the victim to be imprisoned inside a large tree until he or she (or it) is freed. This curse was made popular in the story of The Tempest by Bill Shakespeare.
Folk Music in the 20th Century
With the advent of phonographs, many early recordings of folk music were made. Often the singers would tell stories of actual events, whilst the musicians just plucked away.
During the 1950's as pop music became more and more established folk music became less heard, but like a sceptic boil on the arse, it's prescence was still felt, and like a highly contageous disease, no amount of decent music, could stop it from re-emerging, in the 1970's.
Even with the steady decline of Folk Music, these fantastic musicians still held their own by suppling the audience with huge amounts of cocaine and pot. By the end of the concert, the listeners really had no clue what they were even doing there.
Folk music has been scientifically proven to both improve the taste of Real Ale and cheese and onion flavored crisps. negative side effects include banishment from settlements, club foot or beard growth.
Famous British Folk Groups
- Steeleye Span - Influenced by The Monkees, and Herp Alpert, they were a mixture of traditional, and Irish Thrash Metal styles. Not to be confused with Steely Dan
- Fairport Convention - Formed by ex Thin Lizzy guitarist James Blunt, and Spice girl Geri Halliwell, the Fairports have been going for over sixty years, and have released seventy three albums, many of them involving traditional themes such as hang gliding, tennis and shopping.
- Pentangle - Often considered the founders of Grunge, the band had several hit singles in the 1970's including Bohemian Rhapsody, which was also covered by Queen. Their singer, Jacqui McShee, is not to be confused with 'Mad' Prior of Steeleye Span fame.
- Sex Pistols - A traditionalist band, their use of flutes, mandolins and 12 string acoustic harps, has made them icons across the folk music scene. Singing tales of urban life, farming, and gentle summer breezes,the Pistols remain folks true ambassadors.
- Andy and Lucas- began as a folk deeply rooted in Galway and then developed into a more commercial folk band.
- Peter, Paul, Ron, Brian and Mary - famous sixties folkies, they sang about 'leaving on a jet plane', but dont worry bacause they'll be back again. Good news for all their fans.
- Desmond Dekker - A mixture of carribean, and traditional rural england sounds, Desmond scored a series of hits, with 007 (a song about mathematics), and the Israelites, a song of Israels triumphs over all Arabs and his personal hatred of Muslims.
- The Spinners - they even had a black member, this radical band, would challenge the establishment, and the unconventional style won them enemies and friends alike.
- The Copper Family - Discovered in a rural enclave of Sussex in the 19th century. The same songs have been sung continually (and continuously) by the same members of this long-lived family since 1197, and they're not bored yet.
- The New Oldtimers - 4 upper-middle class residents of Chevy Chase, MD who sing uplifting songs about the good old days a-workin' in the coal mine and eatin' mucilage.