I am extremely excited to announce that voting for the SXSW 2012 Music Conference is now live. It closes Friday, September 2nd at 11:59pm CST. Here’s more information on the panel, and click here to read it and vote. Your help is greatly appreciated!
The Banjos are Coming!: Another British Invasion?
England is known for many things: Beckham, bad teeth, bewildering hats. But the Brits are also known for invading us—musically, that is—every couple of generations. The last British Invasion brought us not only the Beatles but also their melodious mates: a unique community of talented misfits and magpies that sailed in on the tailored coattails of the Fab Four. While I’m not about to claim that Mumford & Sons are bigger than the Beatles (let alone Jesus), I will argue that they’re part of a new British community making waves on this side of the Atlantic. Along with artists such as Laura Marling and Noah and the Whale, the waistcoated foursome come from a tight-knit network of mates producing folk-inspired music. This newfangled ‘new-folk’, and the collaborative community surrounding it, is uniquely English—and proving to be a much more successful export than those weird hats.
1. What does ‘new-folk’ actually MEAN, and how does it fit into the larger music industry?
2. Why has new-folk found such a large (and international) audience? What makes it accessible?
3. How has this community spurred its own growth?
4. What does the growth of this scene suggest about consumer attitudes toward authenticity, especially as it applies to acoustic and/or roots-style music?
5. What strategies–social media, extensive touring, etc–have helped these artists rise so rapidly?
Featuring: Lynn Roberts, founder of For Folk’s Sake and queen of all things folk. Kevin Molloy, head of TV at Rockfeedback and Lovelive, singer-songwriter, and all around folky (oh yeah, and he produced Johnny Flynn’s Kentucky Pill video, among other things). Kev Jones, cofounder of Communion Music and one of the driving forces for all this great music.
In preparation for the Royal Wedding, I am currently drinking London-imported tea from my Union Jack teapot while wearing a Union Jack t-shirt and a Cambridge sweatshirt. I tried to find crumpets today, but Safeway didn’t seem to have them, so I’m stuck with English muffins. And did you know England’s favorite dish is actually chicken tikka masala? Guess what I had for dinner.
If this all sounds crazy and/or pathetic, you’re entirely right. I haven’t gone far enough into wedding insanity for it to be legit and slightly impressive, but I’ve probably thought about it more than the average Californian. As my Facebook news feed gets filled with other study abroad “I miss London” statuses, though, I feel a bit validated: for this one day, we’re all allowed to feel like pseudo British expats.
As such, I’d like to honor the couple (and my own fond memories) by compiling a short England playlist. These songs may not have an iota of meaning for Will and Kate, but they do for me.