What the folk?

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

Call it what you want – folk, nu-folk, freak-folk, folk noir – but the ana­logue-sound­ing, pre­dom­i­nantly acous­tic rhythms of


and are all busy up­hol­ster­ing a tra­di­tion­ally rooted sound to no lit­tle ac­claim. While the term “folk” used to be used in a pe­jo­ra­tive way by the rock and pop world, er­ro­neously con­jur­ing up im­ages of fin­gers stuck in ears and songs about dead sailors, the re­vival of the genre has been at­trib­uted to the “re­al­ness” of the mu­sic.

With an in­con­ti­nent use of stu­dio technology gim­micks such as Auto-Tune, and a generic swishy syn­the­siser sound mak­ing much of to­day’s r’n’b and hip-hop sound stilted and stylised, there’s an al­most tan­gi­ble feel about to­day’s folk stylings. And the multi-mil­lion sell­ing run­away suc­cess of Mum­ford & Son’s Sigh No More has pre­cip­i­tated the usual rush in record com­pany A&R di­vi­sions to sign up any­thing sound­ing vaguely sim­i­lar.

Next year will see a fresh glut of nu-folk­ers hit the stages and record shops as folk re­mains ever-so “on trend” and be­gins to cosy up to the main­stream. Caveat emp­tor: it’s open sea­son in the folk world for band­wag­onjumpers.

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