This year, Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association is celebrating 35 years of working with the community and City of Tucson to produce the Tucson Folk Festival. We’ve chose a theme to celebrate this special year entitled, “What is Folk?” The word “Folk” comes from a Germanic noun “Fulka” meaning a group of people; a gathering of people.
Let us say hypothetically the word “Folk” is the trunk of a family tree and the branches are the family extensions. These extensions are: Folk Art; Vernacular Architecture; Textiles; Music: Traditional, Folk and World Music; Narrative: Legends, Urban Legends, Family Tales, Folk Tales; Verbal Art: Jokes, Proverbs, Word Games; Belief and Religion: Folk Religion, Ritual Mythology; Traditional Regional Foods and Dress; Traditional Way of Living Life and Philosophies; and Folk is in the foundation and building blocks of nations all over the world. The peoples heart beat, blood, soul and human spirit of all nations.
The mission of TKMA is “. . . to further the public awareness and interest in acoustic music and other folk arts . . . ” So, let’s talk a bit about Folk Music . . . Mike Seeger (1933 – 2009) American Folk musician, half-brother to Pete Seeger and folklorist said, “American folk music is all the music that can fit between the cracks.” American Folk Music is categorized as “early American folk music” colonial and revolutionary. Its origins come from England, Scotland and Ireland. In contrast, the regional forms of “Traditional American Folk or Roots music” include Bluegrass, Country, Old-Time Music, Gospel, Appalachian, Jug Bands, Cajun, Blues, Native American and Music of the Southwest. The “American Folk Music Revival ” began in the 1940s, and its popularity reached its peak from the mid-50s through the 70s. Interpreters of this style of Folk music are Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, The Weavers, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan and many more. Many Traditional American Roots Music musicians do not consider themselves Folk musicians. That is because Roots Folk covers a broader range of music such as Jazz, Country, Native American, Blues, Rock and music of the Southwest; such as, Mexican music, Music from Texas or Tejano, and in some cases Classical music.
Written by Ismael Barajas, TKMA Board Member
(Sources:Web Webster-Merriam Dictionary)
There are many opinions and ideas as to what Folk is and many other styles of folk music that fit within the categories mentioned. That is why we ask . . .