The purpose of these forums is to foster community, centering around the Princeton Traditional Music Society and the related music. The only requirement for forum membership is an interest in these matters. Everyone is welcome.
The focus of the music is oral tradition and history. Although the word "traditional", when associated with music, is generally used to describe the musical traditions of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, Manx, and Breton cultures, the concept can easily be expanded to include music which centres on the poetry of the human condition. Indeed, in this day and age, it is difficult to not do so. Traditional music then, is an art form which speaks to our history and teaches us something about ourselves.
This music originates from the very people whose lives it chronicles. It is not only an expression of life on the sea, in work camps, mines, and factories, but it also speaks of childhood and family life. This is not the music of concert halls, but rather that of the streets, pubs, picket lines, weddings, funerals, and family kitchens. In short, this is music that belongs everywhere, and to everyone.
In defining this art form it is impossible to ignore the non-verbal expressions which are closely related, inspired by, or directly associated with it. One cannot dissociate dance from the music. In the same vein, where there are musicians there will always be an instrumental narrative, even just for the simple joy of playing. Often too, these non-verbal expressions are inspired by the same environment or events which gave birth to the purely oral traditions. In the end, this art is all about the human condition and tells the story of our cultures and where we came from.
The Princeton Traditional Music Society was founded by Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat who have a life long commitment to this music. They are singers of traditional song and scholars of ballads, shanties, and other folk songs. The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, and its success, is a testimony to their passion and hard work.
Of course, the performers at the festival are an important part of this community, as are the people who provide staging and other services. Those who over the years have come to visit, sing, play, and share their culture at Jon and Rika's home cannot be forgotten. With this forum, perhaps there will now be some like minded people joining in who are unable to visit Princeton in person. They too are important, and welcome.