Thursday, November 18, 2010

An open letter to the Boston Music Awards Academy. Where's the folk?


File this away for consideration after this year's Boston Music Awards.  As a producer of traditional folk, bluegrass, old-time and Celtic live concerts, host/producer of an old-time program and host/producer of a traditional folk television program,  I am amazed at two things:

1.  Misunderstanding of the term "folk" music, confusing it with the contemporary pop acoustic music.
2.  The absence of traditional folk, bluegrass, old-time and Celtic categories.

May I suggest the academy reconsider the 2011 categories:

1.  Rename "folk" as "traditional or revival folk", and restricting nominations of contemporary singer-songwriters unless they are writing in that traditional manner.
2.  Adding categories for old-time, bluegrass and Celtic.
Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Boudreau
Producer, notloB Folk Concerts
Host/Producer, "In the Tradition" on Community Radio WCUW, Worcester
Host/Producer, "Blackstone Valley Folk, the Grafton Sessions", Grafton Community Television
Moderator, NEFolknRoots
The following is a post made to NEFolknRoots, a 550-member news and discussion group that you and all are welcome to join (it's free, just register), with copies sent to the Boston Bluegrass Union'sFolk Song Society of Greater Boston and officers of the Canadian-American Club of Boston.  I hope it inspires their members to become more actively involved in the 2011 nomination process.

The BMA's work is worthy, promoting the local live music scene and channeling monies raised at the awards ceremonies to music charities.  But with a focus on commercial and popular music, the BMA academy overlooks the vibrant traditional folk, old-time, Celtic, and bluegrass scenes.  View the nominees. 

And as far as the "folk" category, the 2010 nominees could be better described as contemporary singer-songwriters.  Compound this with the fact that several are duplicated in the singer-songwriter category.  Remember the words of Geoff Muldaur, "just because someone is standing on the stage with an acoustic guitar does not make him or her a folk artist."

Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, photo credit Jim Corwin

Why are there no traditional folk, old-time, Celtic and bluegrass music categories and why is BMA perpetuating the public's confusion of singer-songwriter music as folk music?  It's too late for 2010, but if you are also perplexed, read the 2010 nomination process and suggest to the "Academy" that "folk" be redefined as "traditional folk", and add old-time, Celtic, and bluegrass categories.


Background information:

Website http://www.bostonmusicawards...
Contact Jake Brennan (Producer)
95 Morse St.
Norwood, MA 02062



Boston Music Awards FAQs

On December 5th, 2010 the 23rd Boston Music Awards will be held at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, MA with performances by DOM, Barry & The Remains, Jennie Dee & the Deelinquents, Mystery Roar, Kingsley Flood, Kon and many others.

Who is eligible for a Boston Music Award? A musician or producer who has strong ties to New England. We define strong ties as someone who is a New England native or has lived here for a substantial period of time who has actively worked or is actively working here. (John Mayer who went to Berklee for one year does not qualify).

The timeframe for consideration for this year's awards are November 1, 2009 - October 31, 2010.

What is the Mission of the Boston Music Awards? To bring together the music community of New England to honor its best and brightest performers while raising money for music charities to ensure our stages and studios are filled with talent for years to come. The event is the one time of year that the entire community can come together and celebrate our own. We also strive to generate regional and national exposure for nominated and winning artists.

Where does the money go? Since 2003, any proceeds from the event have gone to various music charities throughout New England. We have funded scholarships to Berklee, music education programs in schools, etc. Recently, we aligned with Music Drives Us, a non-profit that provides funding for music education programs For the past few years the money to put on the BMAs and fund our charitable efforts has been raised exclusively through sponsorship and partnerships. 

How are the nominees chosen? This year, we have revamped our nominating and voting to include over 150 active participants in all genres of the music community in New England. The Academy includes venue owners, booking agents, managers, writers/bloggers, DJs, program directors, music business owners, distributors, retailers, producers, publicists and others. We will continue to try to update and expand this list to ensure that it is truly representative of people who have their finger on the pulse of ALL music genres in Boston. The BMA office gets nomination requests throughout the year, which we pass on to the nominating committee.

Who votes for winners? Once the ballot is created, the Academy votes for the winners. The Academy vote counts for 2/3, while the online public vote counts 1/3.

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