What is folk music?

Music with soul moves people and when people venture out to see live music, they want to be moved. Folk music comes from the soul, it is the music of poor working class people who sang to describe stories of their people and traditions and who entertained each other through a love of music and song. They sang from the heart and nothing is louder than the heart in music, no matter who sings it or who plays along.

This old fashioned sentiment is captured perfectly in live folk shows around the country. It is rare you will find a folk band young or old that isn’t captivating with their stage prowess. They move people with their voices, with their instruments, with their music and with their passion.

Folk music is also a great way to hear unusual instruments and melodies that are not often used in other contemporary music genres. These instruments vary but are usually ancient or traditional style wind and string instruments that give a distinct sound to the folk style being showcased. Instruments are often passed down through the generations and come to mean so much more to the musician. There are so many memories from learning to play, say a banjo, that belong to your father, at your father’s knee.

There are many specialty genres of the folk music such as:

– Radical folk

– Anti folk

– Folk punk or rogue folk

– Indie folk

– Techno-folk

– Freak folk

– Americana

Whereas the fusion genres are enumerated as:

– Folk metal

– Progressive folk


If you’re seeing folk music, likely you are at a traditional pub or festival or perhaps in someone’s home. The beauty of seeing folk music live is the warmth that is shared between audience and players. Often, at many a shindig, the players will play in an open circle and everyone can join in. Even if you don’t have an instrument in your hand, you will be clapping, singing and encouraged to get up and dance. Because the music comes from the hear, it doesn’t matter what your singing voice is like. It’s the fact that you are singing along at all is all that matters at the end of the day.

Many a folk band offers even more than song and instruments when they perform. It is not unusual for bands to tour and perform with a dance troupe, merging traditional folk steps with modern contemporary dance styles. They incorporate dance styles like clog dancing or Morris dancing. More and more people are being drawn to folk or acoustic music. Generally speaking, once someone becomes a fan of folk music or attending folk festivals they remain loyal fans for the rest of their lives. Because of this the level of people attending folk festivals is expected to continue to rise.

People feel that folk festivals are more relaxed, friendly and open than many other music festivals. There is always something different to listen to at a folk festival. They all invite new bands and folk music is a continually evolving genre, so there is always something new and interesting to listen to.

This is the beauty of folk, especially when it is live. It is appealing to so many different ages and backgrounds and brings people together to have a wonderful time.


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