A Swan Song for German Folk Music? | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 18.07.2005
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Culture

A Swan Song for German Folk Music?

The importance of folk music

Kahé said the significance of popular folk music for all age groups shouldn't be underestimated.

Knabenchor

The boy's choir from Tölz in Bavaria has achieved worldwide fame

"In southern Germany, Austria or the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, this is serious music and older cultures in the villages cultivate it," said Kahé. "Many young people listen to it there, too."

In Austria, popular folk music is in the top ten and sometimes even reached number one, with gold and platinum records, he added.

"Folk music is one of the most significant forms of entertainment in rural areas and this is where the next generation comes from," said Tolar. But, he added, the artists don’t change the music.

"They sing what the songwriters write for them or what the producers give them to interpret," said Tolar. "But the singers are very significant as carriers, as they attract the public."

Folk music will remain successful

Tolar said he found folk music's popularity to be waning. "A few stars, a few producers and a few good writers have given it a certain monotony, which the public is also beginning to slowly notice," he said.

Not enough was being invested in the next generation, as producers were not willing to risk high production costs with no guarantee of success, he said.

"On the other side, a lot of artistic junk is being produced," said Tolar. This was evident in competitions like "Grand Prix der Volksmusik."

"Producers send in all of their shelf warmers in the hope that one or the other might get through," he said. "It's very depressing to sit in that kind of jury."

He said the public did listen very selectively and would respond to bad songs in a television show by simply switching off.

Kahé, though, said that popular folk music will continue to be successful.

"A music that comes from tradition has something in its origins, which moves people," said Kahé. "The more it can convey this, the more successful it will be."

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