We headed down to Canberra for the Easter weekend to spend some time with Fi's parents, and on our agenda yesterday was to go spend the evening at the National Folk Festival. I guess though I do listen to some music which would be classified by i-tunes as folk, it was a great experience to hear some folk music live - including Eric Bogle and John Munro of 'And the Band Played Waltzing Malitda' fame, that I was not really familar with.
There was something in Bogles's lyrics which is getting harder and harder to find in contemporary music. Bogle's songs are more than just protest songs, they are social commentries. Of the songs we heard last night, one was about the colour of dreams (touching on MLK, Nelson Mandela), one was around the obscene amount of money our government seems to spend on sport, another on the casualties of war coming home The ones which really struck me - one was a call and response song around the death of an elderly women, who lay in her home for a year unnoticed, and "And the Band Played.." really reasonated with me, even though I've probably heard it before.
On top of the lyrics, the harmonies of John and Eric's voices and guitars was wonderful too. It wasn't all serious though, there was great banter between Eric and John, and they played a song reminding us that the greatest endangered speices - is the male.
I know I've said this before, and I know that there's more protest songs out that that I can recall, but these songs were powerful statements, and I can't think of many bands to let their music talk in the same way as folk-singers such as Eric. I know that both Gen-Y and Gen-X are not as apathetic as they're are often made out to be, and perhaps they protest in a different sort of way.
While we were there last night we also saw the April Vietch Band - a Canadian group out to Austalia for the first time, and one of the highlights of their performace was watching their fidller / tap-dancer duel with the drummer, and then play the fiddle while tap-dancing... very great entertaining stuff. Was well worth the trip.