In the Beginning
Traditional Arts Support in the Community (TASC) was
in 1994 as the outreach arm of the Mid Wales May Festival (1989-1998).
Based in Mid Wales, it aims to promote and encourage traditional and
in Powys and beyond.
TASC is a registered charity, no. 1042144
Details of our past work can be found in the HISTORY>ARCHIVE section.
above: Tony Benn sharing a joke with Festival Director Philip Freeman in Newtown Council Chamber, Ian Orr woodturning with a pole lathe on the Festival Field, Knockhundred Shuffles, a couple from Tennessee dancing to Cajun music (last two pictures outside Oriel Davies Gallery).
below: Craft Market and Open Stage Tent (also outside the gallery).
We're suggesting these are what shoudl guide our work - but we're always happy to be challenged on any of it.
- Folk musicians are self-taught . This doesn't mean that they don't take lessons or learn from others - but it does mean they take responsibility for their own music-making. In Chris Wood's rather unwieldy phrase Folk Music is the Lair of the Auto-Didact.
- It follows that TASC's role is to maximise learning opportunities. That isn't always the same as maximising teaching opportunities.
- The quality of a folk performance cannot be gauged without taking into account the purpose for which it is made. Beautiful music from a ceilidh band which does not make you want to dance is a failure. Helping people to understand context is part of TASC's role. This is why the Tunes People Play booklet contained information on the etiquette of sessions, as well as the tunes.
- But that is to look at individuals only. We also need to think about our role in the society in which we find ourselves. I would suggest this is to maximise the use of folk music. This means not just increasing how often it is used but also encouraging as wide a variety of uses as possible. That has been the guiding principle behind our range of projects over the last twenty-three years.
- Folk music has always been refreshed by new ideas, even though they are absorbed at a slower rate than, say, the commercial music business. So showcasing excellence is a key part, though one we have not always been able to provide as often as we would wish in recent years.
- The one thing that is almost impossible to define is the content - the tunes, the songs, the dances, the traditions that make up the world of folk. However, some indications can perhaps be made: folk music feels inclusive; it is easy to have a go at (though may take a lifetime to perfect); it is part of an ongoing tradition, though individuals are free to make their own changes and additions; it is about function as much as form. Basically, if it feels like folk music it probably is.
- Some would argue that folk music does not have audiences: it has communities. We are all participants. Whether we are playing, listening or dancing we are all involved. Whatever we see, do or hear is in order to take it and make it part of our own lives, not - as entertainment does - give us a holiday from them.