Katie Cruel is a traditional American folksong, likely of Scottish origin. As a traditional song, Katie Cruel has been recorded by many performers, but the best known recording of the song is by Karen Dalton on the album In My Own Time. The American version of the song is said to date to the Revolutionary War period. The song is Roud no. 1645.
The American lyrics appear to contain an oblique story of regret. As given in Eloise Hubbard Linscott’s The Folk Songs of Old New England. The opening verse of the song bears a strong resemblance to the Scottish song, Licht Bob’s Lassie, whose opening verses mirror the song in both notional content and form.
First when I cam’ tae the toon They ca’d me young and bonnie Noo they’ve changed my name Ca’ me the licht bob’s honey
First when I cam’ tae the toon They ca’d me young and sonsie Noo they’ve changed my name They ca’ me the licht bob’s lassie
Lankum are a contemporary Irish folk music group from Dublin, consisting of brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat. Their music has been characterised as “a younger, darker Pogues with more astonishing power”. Reviewing their third album The Livelong Day for The Guardian, Jude Rogers described it as “a folk album influenced by the ambient textures of Sunn O)) and Swans, plus the sonic intensity of Xylouris White and My Bloody Valentine”. In 2018 they were named Best Folk Group at the RTÉ Folk Music Awards, while Radie Peat was named Best Folk Singer.
I have spent the last ten or so years of my professional life working in the traditional music world as a performer, educator and composer. Right now, this scene is having its #metoo moment with the hashtags #itendsnow and #misefosta. This is predicated on the valiant work of groups such as the BIT Collective, Fair Plé and protestations from 2016 and 2017 around the blatant sexism in our world.
My first awareness of a public outcry highlighting the preference for ‘masculine’ music by the industry and the lack of opportunity for female musicians was in 2016. BBC Radio 2 Instrumentalist of the Year Rachel Newton argued on social media that she felt “overwhelmed by the amount of all-male and more importantly very masculine bands… dominating the Scottish traditional music scene”. Continue reading →
Women in the Scottish traditional and folk music scene say it is time for “inappropriate behaviour” by men to stop.
Women working in the Scottish trad and folk music scene are calling for an end to “inappropriate behaviour” and sexism by men.
Glasgow musician and lecturer in traditional music Jenn Butterworth says young women have been sharing harrowing stories online about sexual abuse, harassment and misogyny within trad and folk music in Scotland.
“Everyone is fully aware these things are going on,” she told BBC Scotland’s The Nine, and women are speaking out in the hope it can finally change.
Fiddle player and academic Rona Wilkie says more “hair-raising” stories are coming out every week about what young women especially are subjected to from men in the industry.
Rona, from Oban, won the young traditional musician of the year award in 2012 at the age of 22 but she has been performing since she was very young. Continue reading →