Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The viral viol


Randomness is a very precious thing, or is folk music the new classical? Bob Dylan tops the UK charts. Then, as I was preparing my articles celebrating folk icon Pete Seeger's 90th birthday, Jordi Savall's new CD arrived, and it is pure folk music.

The Celtic Viol is a homage to the Irish and Scottish music traditions with Jordi Savall playing treble viol accompanied by Andrew Lawrence-King on the Irish Harp and psalterium. Accompanying the beautifully played and presented CD is a 142 page multi-lingual booklet to which Jordi Savall contributes a superb essay titled In praise of transmission. This highlights the importance to folk music of that forerunner of viral marketing, the oral tradition.

All the music on this new CD comes from the oral tradition, as does Pete Seeger's and most folk music. One of the most famous examples of the oral tradition is Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land which was written in 1940, but was not professionally published until 1956. In his essay for the CD Jordi Savall acknowledges diverse oral influences including historic recordings by the Scottish violinist James Scott Skinner and Cape Breton fiddler Joe MacLean, and concerts by The Chieftains.

In a recent post I explained how the importance of blogs is measured by the richness of the links to them, as measured by Google and Technorati. Perhaps a similar ranking measuring the richness of cultural links could be devised for music? I have a feeling it would explain the appeal of Jordi Savall's music making which ranges so effortlessly across faiths, centuries, continents and styles. Jordi Savall's own CD centric Alia Vox record label is one of the very few record industry success stories of recent years because, unlike the corporate labels, it dares to be different. As Pete Seeger said 'When will they ever learn?'.


Jordi Savall also values non-mainstream media.
The Celtic Viol was pre-ordered from Amazon.co.uk for the stupidly cheap price of £8.98 including delivery. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

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