Silver Birch and Weeping Willow

Young women with long blonde hair singing plaintively about nature. That very specific sub-genre was definitely big a thing in the 60’s, and Mary Hopkin was a key figure in it. See also, Marianne Faithfull, Judy Collins, Sandy Denny, etc. See also, long billowing dresses, peter-pan collars, obscure Medieval string instruments, wildflower bouquets, etc. Yes, the English folk music revival really loved its virginal-but-wise damsel cliches. It might look a little twee and silly to our modern American eyes, but I suppose that it really made the British feel like they were touching base with their pagan folklore and whatnot. And that’s actually rather lovely. Everyone should be able to delve into the ancient heritage of their people. That’s something a lot of Americans are unfortunately lacking and can’t relate to, so on these shores the English folk music thing never caught on. Some of the figures of the movement went on to become well-known for other things, but Mary Hopkin married Tony Visconti and didn’t work under her own name again for several decades. She’s actually recorded more in the 2000’s than she did in 60’s, and she’s now part of a movement by the Welsh to rediscover and preserve their culture. There is still very much a market in the UK for plaintive singing, long-sleeved gowns, dulcimers, and all things referring to faerie earth magic and other such folklore. Obviously, the ageless Fae damsel is a figure of deep identification and eternally relevant, and folk music is more than a fad that happened 50 years ago.

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