Research into ethical political origins of the Busking music

Kashi Gill has agree to perform a piece as the busker in the film. Our initial piece as mentioned was to be a bowie song since licensing would probably be all but impossible, we have reverted to the song he played to me that made me want him in the part.

However this folk song ‘P is for Paddy’I knew very little about in terms of its origins, I liked the feel and the suggestive elements of the lyrics particularly the character as viewer of others happiness, something I feel in the song he is trying to learn or relearn.

But in terms of the origins and any potential political overtones I knew very little. In the light of my earlier concerns about the score being safe and valid I thought it might be prudent to check this out.

When I mentioned this to Kashi, he said he would have a look into it… What he came back with was a real surprise, a superb piece of research and I am hugely grateful to have such helpful team members on board the project. below is the ‘Essay’ Kashi prepared for me, suffice to say it made interesting reading and it seems in summary that we have nothing sectarian or political to be concerned about.

 

Discussing the origins and ethical considerations behind ‘P Stands for Paddy, I Suppose’, a traditional folk ballad.

Kashi Gill, 21ST February, 2017.

As with the research of any piece of music that is intended to be applied to a piece of broadcasted media, it is important to carry out an appropriate degree of research with regards to the interpretation that the piece of music may have, and any ethical consideration that these interpretations may bring about.

With regards to the traditional folk song known commonly as ‘P Stands for Paddy, I Suppose’ (see item A, page 2), I have carried out what I would consider to be adequate research in terms of its established interpretations, and the history of the song, with specific detail having been payed to the investigation of its geographical and cultural origins.

It must be noted that the origins of the song have been long disputed. For example, credited musician Paul McKenna describes the song as a “traditional Irish song”.1 However, certain credited folk-music specialists have been included in this compilation of research in order to ensure the highest level of validity.

Award winning ‘Bellowhead’ composer Jon Boden, in his online project ‘A Folk song a day’, has claimed the origins of ‘P Stands for Paddy’ to lie with the original English folk revivalist Cecil Sharp. Boden writes:

It (‘P Stands for Paddy, I Suppose’) was printed as a Broadside in the 1820s, and Cecil Sharp collected a version from a Gypsy singer in Gloucestershire.” – (A Folk Song a Day, 17th May 2015.)2

Therefore, one could argue that the song does not have any one-origin and can be said to have originated from a variety of areas. From research provided by Boden’s online project, we can see that it is quite possible that the song was not even native to Ireland, contrary to Paul McKenna’s description of the ballad. Moreover, due to the song’s nature as a ‘Folk Ballad’, it could be seen that to try and identify the exact origin of the song would be near impossible.

Past Interpretations and Ethical Considerations.

Many folk artists have been known to have made alternative arrangements, adaptations, and ‘covers’ of the song, arguably the most notable adaptation of the song being its appearance on the Planxty album ‘Cold Blow and the Rainy Night’ (1974), where it was arranged by Christy Moore and Andy Irvine. 3

In addition to Planxty’s popular arrangement of the song, Cara Dillon performed the song on Colum Sands ‘Folk Club’ on BBC Ulster on Saturday the 21st of June 2008. Cara Dillon’s version of the song included the words ‘P Stands for Paddy, I suppose’. 4 From this, one could argue that the very fact that the song’s lyrics past any censorship of possible sectarian references that BBC Northern Ireland have in place, is a reliable sign that the song holds no sectarian, or even political, references.

Therefore, any questions regarding the ethical considerations, and indeed any concerns regarding possible sectarian references, can be confidently omitted. Furthermore, the use of the words ‘P Stands for Paddy, I suppose’ can be argued to hold no reference to the term ‘Paddy’, meaning the unfavourable stereotype of a man of Irish nationality or descent. In addition, the use of the name Paddy in the media has been discussed in recent years, resulting in an official statement from the Independent Television Commission who stated:

The ITC believes that, while over the years the name Paddy has been used in a derogatory way in relation to Irish men, the name can be and is still used as a nickname in an affectionate and familiar sense, the diminutive form of the name Patrick”. (ITC, 2001).5

Moreover, drawing reference from the ‘Origins’ section of this article, it must be reiterated that there is much speculation and dispute over the origins of the song, including the name. The words ‘P Stands for Paddy’ within the chorus of the song, have been known to be replaced for the words ‘T Stands for Thomas’. The most famous version of the song in this version can be seen to be ‘T Stands for Thomas’ by the English folk band ‘The Watersons’. Originating from Hull, Yorkshire, the band featured the song on their 1975 album ‘For Pence and Spicy Ale’.

In terms of geographical origins of the song, we can see from previously stated evidence that the title lines of the song, traditionally, depended on the geographical location in which they were to be performed. For example, the Irish folk group Planxty chose to perform the song with the title name of the chorus being the popular Irish name ‘Paddy’, whereas, we know that the English folk group, ‘The Watersons’, performed the song using the popular English name ‘Thomas’.

Therefore, one can conclude that the use of the name ‘Paddy’ within the ballad holds no further meaning other than it could be said to have been a common Irish name at the time that the song was first written, thus providing reason for the English interpretation of the song substituting ‘Paddy’ for the arguably equally nationally popular name ‘Thomas’.

Item A:

The written words of ‘P Stands for Paddy, I Suppose’ (Planxty adaptation) (Credited to Christy Moore, Andy Irvine). (Shanachie Records, 1974).6

P stands for Paddy, I suppose
J’s for my love John
And the W stands for false Willy-O
But Johnny is the fairest man
Johnny is the fairest man, my love
Johnny is the fairest man
And I don’t care what anybody says
For Johnny is the fairest man

As I went out one may morning
To take a pleasant walk
I sat myself down upon an old stone wall
To hear two lovers talk

To hear what they might say, my dear
To hear what they might say
That I might know a little more about love
Before I go away

P stands for Paddy, I suppose
J for my love John
And the W stands for false Willy-O
But Johnny is the fairest man

Come and sit you down beside me, he says,
Together on the green
For it’s a long three quarters of a year or more
Since together we have been

Oh I’ll not sit by you, she says,
Now nor at any other time
For I hear you love another little girl
And your heart’s no longer mine

Your heart’s no longer mine, my dear
Your heart’s no longer mine
It’s a-just three quarters of a year or more
And your heart’s no longer mine

P stands for Paddy, I suppose
J for my love John
And the W stands for false Willy-O
But Johnny is the fairest man

And I’ll go up the tall, tall tree
And I’ll rob the wild bird’s nest
And when I come down, I’ll give a little love
To the girl that I love best

The girl that I love best, my dear
The girl that I love best
And down I’ll come, and I’ll go straight home
To the girl that I love best.

P stands for Paddy, I suppose
J for my love John
And the W stands for false Willy-O
But Johnny is the fairest man

Johnny is the fairest man, my dear
Johnny is the fairest man
And I know a little more about love
Before I travel on
”.

1 ‘P Stands for Paddy’, Paul McKenna, ‘The Paul McKenna Band’, available at

http://www.paulmckennaband.com/music/between-two-worlds/p-stands-for-paddy/. Accessed: 21/02/17 (11:18 am).

2P Stands for Paddy I Suppose’, ‘A Folk Song a Day Project’, Jon Boden, 17th of May 2015, available at http://www.afolksongaday.com/?p=2932#comments. Accessed: 21/02/17 (11:21 am).

3The Humours of Planxty’. Ireland: Hodder Headline O’Toole, Leagues (2006), pg 189-204.

4 Colum Sands, Folk Club Playlist, BBC Radio Ulster, 2008, available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/radioulster/folk_club/playlist.shtml. Accessed: 21/02/17 (11:54 am).

5 Jason Deans, ITC clears Millionaire question, The Guardian, 2001, available at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2001/apr/17/broadcasting2

Accessed: 21/02/17 (12:06 am).

6 J.C.Monger, 2017, AllMusic, Planxty: Cold Blow and the Rainy Night, available at

http://www.allmusic.com/album/cold-blow-and-the-rainy-night-mw0000206988

Accessed: 22/02/17 (17:59 pm).

Discussing the ethical consideration behind

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s