I was listening to Radio 5 Live and the brilliant presenter Colin Murray. One of guests was the artist Billy Bragg and a discussion raged about whether Billy is a ‘folk’ singer. One of the guests said he was for the very good reason that he sang in his own accent. Folk is people singing in their own accent.
What they were getting at was what makes something authentic. Authenticity is about place and time and connection. I began thinking about my favourite bands and singers and, yep, using this definition I love folk music. That’s a surprise indeed. If you start applying this Rule of Folk all kinds of bands seem to be a bit fake. I do have to say, though, that it is a bit of a flimsy yardstick.
This is a slightly long way of getting round to Celtic spirituality. That is also a folk spirituality because it is authentically local, of a time and spoken or prayed in its own unique way. You can hear the people whom might have said these prayers and picture them.
Compass me this night,
both soul and body,
Compass me this night
And on every night.
Compass me aright
Between earth and sky,
Between the mystery of Thy laws
And mine eye of blindness.