By Austin Schofield for Plympton-Halifax Express
On the evening of Thursday, Sept. 19, Kevin MacIsaac visited the Plympton Public Library to share his knowledge and love for folk music with a group of interested spectators.
Since a young boy, Kevin wanted to be a musician, drawing inspiration from Peter, Paul and Mary, and other like artists. Later in life, after working as an English teacher for some time, Kevin got a chance to pursue music more often, doing gigs in coffee houses, and smaller venues. Eventually, he came up with the idea for a program that could combine performance with history, and thus he created “The Evolution of Folk”, a program he has brought to many libraries and galleries.
At the library, Kevin began with a brief introduction to folk, describing it as composed of three important components. Of the genre, he said, “it’s old, anonymous, and its passed down through the oral tradition.” He explained to the crowd that, conventionally, it wasn’t written down, but rather it was passed down from generation to generation through the act of actually singing it. He went on to speak about the different kinds, including ballads, sea shanties, and more. Following this introduction and throughout his performance of the program, Kevin played quite a few songs, ranging from classic folk to work by more modern artists. Supplementing his performance, he provided more and more information as he progressed through the night.
Kevin started the show off with some traditional songs & ballads, and eventually moved on to modern songs, one of which was the notable song, Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Puff The Magic Dragon,” that brought audience members to sing along.
He also played another classic example of modern folk by Pete Seeger, “This Land Is Your Land,” and of his work, Kevin mentioned, “[he] wrote his own songs in response to the times he was in.
Traditionalists around him frowned upon the writing of new songs, but he didn’t care.” In parallel to the songs by prominent artists that he performed, he also played his own original that he titled, “If I Could Sing.”
Following this, Kevin mentioned that he has a CD project in the works, and also used the opportunity to drive home the point that, even as an older genre, folk music is still evolving today.
Kevin will be performing his program once again in Little Compton, RI on the afternoon of Saturday, November 9th, 2019.
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